New York Film Academy Speaks Candidly with Actress Kim Cattrall
December 12, 2016
The New York Film Academy’s New York campus opened the
doors of its brand new theater for an exclusive talk with award-winning actress, Kim Cattrall. Moderated by Acting
for Film Chair Glynis Rigsby and Chair of the Department of Contemporary Photography
Ralph Gibson, Cattrall spent over an hour talking about her career in film, TV, and
theater. She also focused on her most recent passion project, the HBO Canada series,
"Sensitive Skin," for which
she is also an executive producer.
Based on the British series created by Hugo Black, the show centers around Davina Jackson (Kim Cattrall) and her longtime husband (Don McKellar) who have sold their family home and moved to a hip condo in a transitional downtown neighborhood in order to consciously change their lives, keep relevant, and begin again.
Having been involved with the arduous process of bringing the show to life, Cattrall now feels she knows what it’s truly like to be an executive producer. “Don’t assume that everybody is on the same page,” she says. “There is a clear path to inviting people into your story.”
While known by an entire generation for her acting role as Samantha Jones in the HBO hit series "Sex and the City" — for which she received five Emmy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations, winning the 2002 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress — some in the audience were surprised when Cattrall explained, "I'm not like Samantha at all, but I'd like to have some of that."
Cattrall has starred in popular films such as "Porky's," "Police Academy," "Big Trouble in Little China," "Mannequin," "Masquerade," "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country," and "Ice Princess."
She also has a celebrated career in theater, having starred in the 1986 original Broadway production of "Wild Honey," as well as productions of "Antony and Cleopatra" at the Liverpool Playhouse, "Private Lives" on Broadway, and "Sweet Bird of Youth" at London's Old Vic.
Like many of the students in the audience, Cattrall's dream coming out of high school was to go to New York to study theater. "It was a chance to experience living in others people's shoes," said Cattrall.
Trained in Stanislavski, Cattrall says, "Every line I'm trying to get something from the other person. I know when I land a moment." She did add, "What makes my job easier is a good script. That's why I like to do Shakespeare."
For those who are always seeking perfection, Cattrall said, "There are always going to be glitches. You can't hold onto perfection. You will learn more from when you fail than when you succeed."
When asked by Ralph Gibson how she sees the camera, Cattrall said, "The camera is always connected to the cinematographer, so I always flirt with the cinematographer. I try to make the cinematographer be somebody who I can possibly be in love with."
For acting students going on auditions, Cattrall remembered the advice she had been given: "Someone told me when I come into a room to audition that I should be auditioning them and asking them questions."
At the end of the day, Cattrall believes each actor must assess what making it in the business truly means to him or herself. As an example, she recalled one of her best friends who was a terrific actor, but couldn’t land an acting job or an agent. After spending a large portion of her young adult life going through the trials and tribulations of rejections, she found another creative outlet through teaching theater. “An important factor in being an actor is that you have to have a life because what you are interpreting is life. Live your life, set your goals, adjust them, and work your [butt] off,” said Cattrall to a rousing applause.
Throughout the conversation, Cattrall was extremely gracious and insightful. The entire room of NYFA students, faculty, and alumni left being even more of a fan of her remarkable career.