Facing Life after 'Sex'; Kim Cattrall Saved Her Best for Last on HBO's Beloved, Departing Hit. Now Comes the Hard Part: Starting Over
Byline: Allison Samuels
Generally speaking, it's impolite to weep after sex. But if anyone's earned the right, it's Kim Cattrall, because this time was one for the ages. It lasted six years, she gave an award-worthy performance and, as Cattrall herself knows all too well, she may never have it this good again. So go ahead, Kim, have a nice, long cry. It's the very last day of filming on the very last episode of HBO's "Sex and the City," and Cattrall is about to shoot her very last scene as Samantha Jones, the show's brazen sexual conquistador. This season, Samantha has been fighting breast cancer, and her rotating gallery of wigs has become one of the show's most bittersweet jokes. In her final scene, Samantha stands before a group of cancer survivors and defiantly yanks off her wig, revealing the bald head of a chemo patient. The director yells cut. The crew roars, giving Cattrall a standing ovation. And that's when the tears begin.
After "Sex and the City's" finale this Sunday, it'll be our turn to reach for the Kleenex, and not just because a trailblazing sitcom is saying goodbye. Given Hollywood's lousy track record with actresses in their 40s, we might not see much more of Cattrall, despite her multiple Emmy nominations. Just ask her. "It's no real mystery that women of a certain age tend not to exist in Hollywood," says Cattrall, who's 48. "Before this show, I was dealing with that. There were no roles for 40-year-olds, and if there was, it went to Michelle Pfeiffer. I love Michelle, but what about the rest of us?" It's an especially bitter pill considering that this last season of "Sex" has been by far Cattrall's finest. Without lapsing into sentimentality, she's brought both guts and vulnerability to Samantha's bout with cancer, deepening a performance that, in the past, could be a bit one-note. "One thing I regret is that the changes in her character didn't happen sooner," says a top Hollywood producer who's a friend of Cattrall's. "Maybe it wouldn't have made a difference [for her career], but I became an even bigger fan watching her handle that story line with the same class and savvy she did everything else on the show."
Back in the makeup trailer, Cattrall is wiping away a few last tears and getting her hair restyled when Sarah Jessica Parker walks in to prep for her final scenes. …