I think I feel like sending Kim actress Cattrall to her room to think about her transgressions against both propriety and good, clean family wholesomeness. I might even ground her for a month.
Then I remind myself that she is an actress playing a part, and I'm not her father,
in any case. So, what am I doing being all paternal and stuffy?
I must remind myself that the sexual hi-jinx of Samantha on Sex and the City
are not ‘my’ Kim at all, but just Kim doing a job of work in the context of: "I'm not really a doctor, but just an actor playing one." But, it's hard, because Kim and I go back a long time. Back to the days when she was a picture of pristine and innocent young girlhood.
In that context, she probably says to herself with much regularity, "I'mvnot really a hypersexualized, middle-aged, albeit immensely glamorous woman, but just an actress pretending to be one." This would be the same thing as if Sharon Stone didn't forget to wear her underpants as Sharon Stone, but as her character in a movie forgot her underpants whilst in the
So, as Kim Cattrall exhibits tendencies towards carnality in the role of Samantha, it's really only Samantha doing it. Kim, the real Kim, is at home doing needlepoint homilies for the wall.
Getting that all sorted out in my mind makes me feel a little better about Kim, but maybe no less paternal. I have a hard time letting go. Intellectually I know that Kim, my former student (hence the paternal impulse) is an actress, and a good one. But just maybe she'll think about
playing a nun sometime. Such a role would improve my emotional acceptance of the situation. After all, Audrey Hepburn played a nun once. She also played girl-about-New York (read 'high class call-girl), Holly Golightly and was every bit as believable as both Holly and the nun. So maybe Kim could play a nun, too, now that her series has long-since finished.
When sweet and young Kim Cattrall was my student back in the early 1970's, I regarded her with exactly the correct pedagogical attitude as prescribed by my role as teacher. But, I was also very fond of her as the talented and personable young woman she was. She sat there in my English and creative writing classes, and was just like any other student of mine. She was cute, attentive, polite, pleasant – and innocent.
Where she was different was that she was Kim, the future actress! In conversation, when life plans came up, her eyes would assume an intensity as she told of her quest in life. She was, even at age fourteen, when I first knew her, possessed of a fierce, burning, unwavering ambition, and that was to act. In those days, before the gender-neutrality-political-rectitude-brigade took command and ordered all thespians to be 'actors', Kim was going to be an "actress" -- a noted one -- a star. There was no "want to be" about this ambition, it was what was going to be!
She had her career mapped out in her mind and her determination not only to get there, but to succeed beyond the anybody's expectations was her driving force. High school was merely a stop along the way; something to be endured until she could seek out the serious training that would lead her in the direction of her chosen vocation.
Other high school kids have ambitions, too. They want to be doctors, lawyers, teachers or beauticians, and some make it. Others bask in the realm of fantasy, as in: "Wouldn't it be way cool to be a rock-star?" Indeed, some even want to act -- maybe -- someday. Kim was different. Kim 'was' going to act. And she was going to act big-time, on Broadway, in
London's West End, before the bright lights of Hollywood -- not in some rinky-dink local theatre society. Nothing was going to stand in her way. By the second half of her grade twelve year, her dreams were falling into place for her. It was then, in 1973, when she was notified that she had been accepted as a scholarship student in the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic
Arts in New York -- the youngest student ever to receive such an invitation. She was on her way at the tender age of sixteen.
The rest is, as they say, history. She was in good films, and bad films, had good live theatre runs, such as her personally cherished stint in the Rocky Horror Show
in Toronto. She got fine reviews for the Canadian flick Days of Heaven
, in which she played a downright scary, hyper-adrenaline cheerleader for a religious cult.
She was in the raunchy teen-pic Porky's
in 1981 and, Shades of Samantha, she bared her ass as the nymphomaniac gym teacher in this critically-slammed but box-office boffo flick. As an aside, she once told me the bum in question belonged to a stand-in, and was not her own. I had
no way of knowing one way or the other, alas.
With all her choices, good and bad, Kim has had a long and, by any standards, extremely successful career in a ruthless business. Now that her Samantha has joined the Bewitched
Samantha in the lexicon of former TV hit characters, I am certain Kim will be a success at it at whatever she turns her able acting hand to. I'm sure she has lost none of her determination, nor her ability to stay newsworthy. She's very good at that, making sure she is 'glamming' it up a la Samantha at events both high-impact and trivial. Of course, there is nothing new to Kim getting her name out there in the media. She even once dated Pierre Trudeau. You might be driven to say, "Who didn't?", but that's not the point. Kim has always known how to court publicity, even co-writing a book on the joys of orgasm with her former husband. Although it might be observed that it wasn’t quite joyful enough, since he is a former Mr. Kim Cattrall, but I digress. The book kept her current, and just a teeny bit controversial.
I followed Kim's career closely in her early days, and was thrilled for her successes and, I must confess, slightly dazzled at times. This was heady stuff. Indeed, I am still thrilled for her success in a ruthless business, albeit the pipeline of our connection has now become quite lengthy.
I went to see her in a little play in Vancouver after she had been in her first film, the underwhelming Rosebud
, in 1975. She was still getting her chops, and any time she was given a chance to perform, she would take it. So, she was happy to do a stint on the Vancouver stage. She once told me she invariably preferred live performing to film or television, but the bucks and the notability are in the latter.
Anyway, she was delighted I took the pains to come to the play, and I was thrilled to see her. She was still very much the kid who had been given a good break, and she was still wide-eyed about how her romance with stage and screen was playing out.
I didn't see Kim again for quite a few years, by which time I had left teaching and had become a newspaper reporter. At some point during this time Kim paid an "official" visit to her hometown (she makes a fair number of unofficial visits to see friends and family, but normally doesn't let it be known), and I set it up so I could interview her for my old newspaper. It was a pleasing meeting with an old friend She was still unspoiled by success, and very much the same person I had taught. We had a lingering lunch, and after lunch she wanted to go and pay a visit to some old haunts, like her high school. I escorted her on her calls, and was charmed to do so. This would have been in about 1980.
We corresponded for a few years after that, and she would often call when she was in town. A few times we met fleetingly, but her career was really starting to take off and she, understandably, had some very big fish to fry in her life.
Losing touch again, I didn't see Kim again until 1993, when she decided to attend her twenty-year high school reunion. She was a bit trepidatious about the event, and was hoping nobody would jealously demean her, as in "Who the hell do you think you are?" To my knowledge no such thing happened at the reunion. I attended the event and, as far as I could see, she was treated like any other alum. People who had known her in student days were delighted to see her, and she chatted with assorted groups as just another former student. I was impressed both with the alumni and by the way she carried it off.
Much has happened in Kim's life since that time, but I am content to assume she is not Samantha, but merely the slightly hyperkinetic but fun kid who loved hockey (as she reportedly still does) and was planning to go off and become a star.
And that she did. Good on her.