Kim Cattrall is a long-time fan of The Archers but never watches Sex and the City
The US actress tells Radio Times about her battle with insomnia and why she's dyeing everything indigo
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.
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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