Sex and the City favourite Kim Cattrall has revealed she almost missed out on her iconic role in the show - because she felt she was too old to play a “sex bomb” after turning forty.
The actress, who went on to play maneater Samantha Jones for 13 years, revealed she turned down the part three times because she was being “ageist” against herself.
Speaking at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Hollywood star revealed she only relented at the eleventh hour after the makers of the programme dropped plans for the character to have children.
The Liverpool-born actress told a mostly-female audience at the Filmhouse cinema of her concerns that young women were growing up in a “much more complicated world” where they are facing growing competition “just to be popular.”
Cattrall also told of her dismay at the lack of good roles for older actresses in modern-day television - saying female characters were too often “relegated” to lesser roles.
Cattrall, who is currently starring in HBO series Sensitive Skin, admitted she had been inundated with similar roles to Samantha when the series ended.
She said: “They would have been a lot of fun and would have made me richer than I am, but I sort of felt I had done it and didn’t think I could do it any better than I did. I didn’t feel that we’d left anything unsaid.
“We stayed just long on TV and the two movies were so much fun, but I felt that times were changing, that Sex and the City had taken women and women’s issues and women’s sexuality so far. I felt it was time for another incarnation.
“When you lose your job of 13 years there is a bit of a grieving process. I miss Samantha. Every time I see re-runs I am really struck by how fresh it is, what a wonderful character she is and how those four characters, to me, made up one complete woman.
“I felt it was time for me to move on. As sad as it was and as much as I wanted it to go on, I felt that I needed more challenges.
“I went back to theatre, which was my first love. It was a chance for me to get back my chops as a stage actress.”
“I turned the role down three times. At the time I was just about to turn 41 and I was practising ageism on myself. I felt I couldn’t be the sex bomb any more.
“You have to understand that this was 1997. We’ve come a long way since then - 40 is now the new 25, 60 is the new 40.
“I was just thinking: ‘Who is going to believe it? And do I want to do it?’
“I was dating someone at the time who asked me: ‘Do you always play sexy women?’ I thought maybe he was right and it was time to pack that up.
“Also, the amount of scripts I was being sent was pretty much cut in half. I was no longer the young starlet, I was now the middle-age actress. The roles were not great.
“I just felt that the comedy wouldn’t work. I wondered whether this was how women talked and whether this sexual voraciousness was a positive role model.
“I kept turning down the role because they kept wanting Samantha to have kids. I just there was no way that this woman would ever have children.
“They finally said they would cut that part out and I said: ‘okay let’s do it’. We had a blast. From the very first read-through I felt there was something in the room, something was present.”
Cattrall, who starred in hit films like Mannequin and Big Trouble in Little China before being cast in Sex and the City, admitted she found the impact of the ageing process for actresses “scary.”
She added: “You don’t photograph the way you did. You don’t have that nubile skin any more. The business doesn’t provide great storylines. You are relegated to a sub plot or second tier storyline. It is shame because you mostly have more life experience to draw on.
“My biggest message is for women to support women. I do mentoring for young actresses now. It’s now about seeing myself there.
It is a much more complicated world than when I was young. There is such a pressure to grow up very, very quickly. There is no place to fail. The competition is so much more. It is a competition just to be popular. Women really, really need to support each other, in society and friendships.
“I loved the sexuality and freedom of Samantha. But the thing I loved most about her was that she had no judgement.”