Let me guess, you’re in a Manhattan duplex with Sex and the City on a loop.
No! I never watch it, although if it comes on I’ll see a scene or two and it tickles me. And I live in the country, just outside of New York, a beach cabin on Long Island Sound.
Nice to be away from criticism for leaving the West End because of chronic insomnia last year.
I don’t listen to that noise. I have my own voice on social media, where I can say: if you’re interested in what really happened, the whole story is more complex than being a disease of the week, than someone saying, “I have this battle.”
How complex was it?
It was a gorilla sitting on my chest. I didn’t understand the debilitating consequence of having no sleep. It becomes a tsunami. I was in a void. I didn’t want to let down the audience, the theatre, playwright or the actors. Letting go of all that was the hardest part but I realised the work that I really needed to do was more important than the play – it was work on my sanity.
Was your sanity a risk?
Coming back to the US, I hadn’t slept for 48 hours and had to wait six hours to get my 18-year-old cat through customs. When the customs officer said, “So, how much is your cat worth?” I couldn’t stop laughing hysterically.
You’re not a woman who likes to break down in airports?
I’m a woman who’s sacrificed a lot of her personal life and relationships because of her love of work. But I’m not a one-off; there are lots of women like me out there. Our mothers went through the Great Depression and world war; we feel we can’t let anybody down. Because everyone would point to it, like they do with Hillary Clinton and say, “Oh she’s crying today.”
Did home help your recovery?
I did cognitive behaviour therapy; it’s like putting on a pair of sneakers and going into your past to get a new perspective. And I was gentle with myself. So last Christmas wasn’t about friends and relations; it was a monastic experience of trying to delve.
And when you’re not delving in the cabin?
I love movies, I subscribe to Hulu [US streaming service] and I am really enjoying Ingmar Bergman and John Cassavetes films. I’m catching up on a lot of films that I loved in my younger years. I understand them in a completely different way, but I also have the memory of when I first saw them.
Is there a book on the coffee table, Kim?
I’m reading The Melancholy of Resistance by Laszlo Krasznahorkai. I went to a talk that he gave at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York and really enjoyed it. It’s about melancholy but it’s got a lot of funny stuff in it, too. It’s inspiring me. Sadness doesn’t just come with a box of tissues; it can come with a tremendous amount of laughter… Oh, it sounds so depressing, doesn’t it? Ingmar Bergman films and a book called Melancholy?
A touch sombre perhaps.
Well, I’ve recently started to dye things the beautiful colour indigo. I’m setting up a vat to do that. I’m dyeing things for friends – clothes and blankets.
Just a woman alone with a vat?
I’m actually learning from a man who is Ralph Lauren’s indigo master. I find it very therapeutic, doing something myself that really is beautiful. Indigo blue is a truly majestic colour and everything is hand-rendered. I love things that are hand-made.
MY MAGAZINE: “I really enjoy reading The New York Review of Books.
MY ONLINE RADIO: “Woman’s Hour and The Archers – I’ve been listening for a long time.”
MY BOX SET: “I binge-watch. Right now I’m going through episodes of Orange Is the New Black in succession.”
Kim Cattrall is in Sensitive Skin, Wednesday 10pm on Sky Arts