Why Hollywood Won't Cast Kim Cattrall Anymore

Sex and the City was an outlet for women — single, married, or somewhere in between — to feel empowered and encouraged as they followed four fierce girlfriends through their dating escapades in New York City with quirky men who were far too relatable to our real-life love interests. But specifically, the show introduced fans to Samantha Jones, played by Kim Cattrall, who was a sex-positive muse, fabulous friend, and savvy public relations professional. Samantha was a feminist icon, and one of the show's standout characters, which propelled Cattrall to TV stardom, earned her multiple awards and accolades, and landed her spots in films such as 15 Minutes (2001) and Ice Princess (2005). 

But in later years, Cattrall has faded into the background, only starring in a few faceless movie and TV productions and pursuing work outside of the entertainment industry. So, what happened? Why won't Hollywood cast her in major productions? Here's the untold truth about Kim Cattrall's career.

Insomnia has affected Kim Cattrall's roles

Most people know that celebrities often take their onscreen talents to Broadway, as seen with Jake Gyllenhaal in Sunday in the Park with George (2017) or Kristen Bell in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (2001). So fans were thrilled when Kim Cattrall landed a starring role in the Royal Court Theatre's production of Linda (2015). After all, the role was oddly similar to her iconic Sex and the City character, Samantha Jones: Linda was a middle-aged woman, who struggled to stay relevant and visible in society.

However, in July 2015, the actor suffered a "debilitating" bout with chronic insomnia that left her restless and exhausted. Though Cattrall reportedly tried cognitive behavior therapy to help her overcome the disorder, it ultimately led to her dropping out of the show. "I didn't understand the debilitating consequence of having no sleep. It becomes a tsunami," she later explained to the Radio Times (via The Guardian). "I was in a void. I didn't want to let down the audience, the theatre, playwright or the actors." Cattrall added, "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 or my sanity."

That may have been the best decision for Cattrall personally, but it definitely hurt her professional standing. Noma Dumezweni replaced her in the play, and by the time the show premiered, HUFFPOST reports that "nobody was talking about Kim Cattrall."

Two words: Hollywood ageism

It goes without saying that production castings depend on an actor's age. While there may always be roles for the George Clooneys and Meryl Streeps of the entertainment industry, many actors face casting discrimination, especially when it comes to lead roles, as they reach middle-age. Hollywood icon Jamie Lee Curtis perhaps summarized it best when she called it a "punish[ment] for the natural evolution of being human" in an interview with People.

Kim Cattrall isn't going for that. She told BBC's Victoria Derbyshire that she refuses to play a "grotesque" character or be seen as a "very, very older woman," because, though she is in fact a middle-aged woman, she doesn't feel that way. The actor also revealed that, because of Hollywood ageism, she "does not depend on Hollywood for jobs anymore." Instead, the Sex and the City alum has moved into the world of executive producing because, there, she doesn't feel pressured to look a certain way.

Let's give a standing ovation to this self-aware queen.

Sex and the City 2 flopped

Any time a Sex and the City project is proposed, loyal fans from around the world band together in giddy excitement with firm intentions on supporting the project to the fullest (a.k.a. watch it multiple times and gush over how it's been way too long since we've seen the ladies onscreen). After the first film was released, revealing a newly-single Samantha Jones, fans were excited to see where she would end up next.

However, by the second flick, instead of blossoming into a more seasoned character, Samantha had reverted to her old ways — but much worse than before. Her puns were extra dirty, her clothes were made for someone two decades younger, and overall, the production was culturally-insensitive. Some critics claimed the movie, whose plot line centered on a girls' trip to Abu Dhabi, mocked religious beliefs through its commentary on the treatment of Muslim women, and others dismissed its racy depictions as "blatantly Anti-Muslim." 

Considering it was Cattrall's character who proudly-yet-boorishly riled up Middle Easterners with her sexuality, this massive fail took a while to blow over.

What's Hollywood when you can make money on Netflix?

From 2014 to 2017, Kim Cattrall starred on the HBO-produced Canadian series, Sensitive Skin. She played Davina Jackson, a middle-aged woman who struggles with aging. With yet another plot line similar to her character's on Sex and the City, Cattrall admitted that the series would be a promising catch for her fans. "To do that with aging is very exciting too, because I have the same feeling about Sensitive Skin that I did about Sex and the City," Cattrall told AOL Build (via InStyle). "I've never been here before. I've never seen this before on television. And being a frontier woman in that way, it's very satisfying."

However, to fans' dismay, the show was canceled in 2017 after just two seasons, per TV, Eh?. The series' official Twitter page claimed it was blindsided by the network's decision to call it quits. That's never a good look, and to make matters worse, Bell Media fired back, alleging the cast knew about the decision to pull the plug. 

That rancor likely bled into Cattrall's career, too, but for a while, at least, the show remained on Netflix for the actor's loyalists to enjoy.

Casting Kim Cattrall costs a pretty penny

According to People, multiple sources have claimed that Kim Cattrall's demands have stalled several projects in the past, including new seasons of Sex and the City and future film installments (more on all that below). The actor even admitted that, at one point, she requested a salary of $1 million per episode if the show were to continue past Season 6, which was almost $700,000 more than her then-reported salary of $350,000 (via E!).

"I felt after six years it was time for all of us to participate in the financial windfall of Sex and The City," Cattrall said on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. "When they didn't seem keen on that I thought it was time to move on."

Though she later signed on for two Sex and the City films, it was rumored that Cattrall's salary demands ultimately caused Warner Brothers to shelve Sex and the City 3. Willie Garson, who starred in the show as Carrie Bradshaw's bestie, Stan, fueled the speculation by shading Cattrall via Twitter (via US Weekly): "Disappointed for all crew holding on for negotiations to conclude for their jobs, and of course, for the fans. Leave it at that. #Truth." Womp, womp.

Kim Cattrall became Samantha Jones

Sex and the City's Samantha Jones is an outspoken businesswoman and a self-proclaimed "try-sexual," which means that she's open to trying anything in the bedroom. And she did: Samantha's lovers included a woman, an elderly man, and even a guy who had a fetish for filming women during sex. Though Samantha's nonchalance was sometimes seen as problematic, it's what made her character so iconic — and ultimately won Kim Cattrall a Golden Globe Award and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

But when visiting The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2011, Cattrall revealed that her role as the sex-positive muse made it difficult for people to distinguish between her character and who she is in real life. Per the Daily Mail, she said people expect her to be a sex expert, which makes it hard for her to date and be comfortable with her sexuality. "Writing a book about the female orgasm didn't help my dating career either," Cattrall quipped. "Men like to think that they know it all, especially in that department."

And if love interests can't shake Samantha Jones, imagine how everyone else in Hollywood feels. 

Personal tragedy changed Kim Cattrall's priorities

On Feb. 4, 2018, Kim Cattrall posted a desperate message on Instagram asking the public to help her find her brother, Christopher Cattrall, who was reported missing on Jan. 30, 2018. Unfortunately, soon after Kim issued her plea, Christopher was found dead at his home in Lacombe, Alberta.

In an interview with The Guardian a year and a half later, the actor admitted she was still reeling from his suicide. "He was only 55 and the shock of his death was so extreme that I can't fill that void," Kim said. "It's made me more aware of how fragile we all are. It can happen to any of us."

In a sense, tragedy shaped Cattrall's acting career. Six years prior to losing her brother, she also lost her father to Alzheimer's. It pushed her to realize "there's only so much time left" and become a lot more selective about how she spends her days — and that includes picking and choosing the projects that make her happy. "Now I don't want to be in a situation for even an hour where I'm not enjoying myself," she told The Guardian. "I want to choose who I spend time with personally and professionally. It's my life."

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Kim Cattrall scorched her Sex and the City castmate

Nobody likes to see their staff and employees constantly bickering, but Kim Cattrall and her Sex and the City co-star, Sarah Jessica Parker, have reportedly fought for more than a decade. The trouble apparently began after Parker became an executive producer during Season 2. Cattrall reportedly tried to negotiate a higher salary, which allegedly caused tension.

Over the years, the women have brushed the feud away as "juicy gossip" while simultaneously arguing in public. At this point, it doesn't even seem like they're trying to cover things up. In 2017, Cattrall told Piers Morgan (via The Cut) that she thought Parker "could have been nicer" as a co-star. She also revealed that she was "never" friends with the cast. "They all have children, and I am 10 years older," she said (via the Daily Mail).

In 2018, following the death of her brother, Cattrall finally went beyond casual aloofness. After Parker voiced her sympathy, Cattrall snapped on Instagram, "I don't need your love or support at this tragic time." She added, "...You are not my family. You are not my friend." It was brutal, and at the time of this writing, it hasn't been deleted.

More recently, with the announcement of the Sex and the City revival, Parker aimed to clear things up. In a reply to an Instagram comment (via ET), she claimed, "I don't dislike [Cattrall]. I've never said that. Never would." Okay, but it certainly seems like she dislikes you.

Kim Cattrall will never play Samantha Jones again

To be totally honest, no one's really ready to see Kim Cattrall star in anything new until she delivers Sex and the City 3 — but that's not going to happen. According to the Daily Mail, rumors swirled that her alleged "demands" killed the third installment. Sarah Jessica Parker even told Extra that they "had this beautiful, funny, heartbreaking, joyful, very relatable script and story," and it was "disappointing" that they wouldn't get to tell it. So, what was the problem?

As far as we can tell, it's got nothing to do with any contract negotiations. Cattrall wants to keep the past in the past. In an interview with Piers Morgan (via the Daily Mail), she admitted that when she got the call to film Sex and the City 3, "the answer was simply, 'thank you, but no, I'm good.'" Cattrall added, "This is about a clear decision, an empowered decision in my life, to end one chapter and start another. I'm 61. It's now. The other girls are 10 years younger than me, you know, and that is their choice."

Nevertheless, the cast have moved on without her. With one dead film, a series rises out of the ashes. Similarly, Cattrall opted out of the HBO Max revival, And Just Like That. In the past, she's been so strongly against reprising her role of Samantha Jones that she's endorsed killing off her character entirely.

Kim Cattrall's done with the Hollywood Grind

It's important to remember that Kim Cattrall has surpassed the average age of retirement, so it makes sense that she'd be done with the Hollywood grind and pick her projects more wisely. Her time on Sex and the City was actually a lot more draining than any of us could have imagined. In an interview with News.com.au, she revealed that she had "no life" during her time on the show. "It was 18-19 hour days, consistently," Cattrall said. "Looking back on [SATC] the things that I did give up were because I wanted to be a professional actor."

One of those sacrifices included having a family of her own. In late 2017, during an appearance on Piers Morgan's Life Stories (via People), Cattrall claimed that she chose not to have children because of her busy SATC schedule. She just didn't see any way time-consuming IVF could possibly work. "I thought, 'I don't think it is going to happen.' It was the first moment — it was extraordinary — in my life where I thought, 'Maybe I'm just not going to do this,'" the actor explained.

Today, things are different. Cattrall has already established herself as a professional actor, and her talents have helped her amass an estimated $60 million net worth. In other words, she worked hard, and now she can play hard. As such, in more recent years, Cattrall's been more selective with her projects, which included leading the short-lived 2020 FOX drama, Filthy Rich.

Kim Cattrall might be prioritizing her relationships

It seems like Kim Cattrall's absence from Hollywood is partyl because she has shifted her priorities. In the past, the actor told News.com.au that Sex and the City destroyed her third marriage. "I was never there and my husband got lonely and upset and competitive, and it was really difficult, it was really hard," she explained. "You end up spending more time with my Sex and the City family than I did with my real family."

These days, she's moved on from divorce and has settled down outside of Hollywood with Russell Thomas, whom she's been dating since 2016. According to People, the pair share a home in Vancouver, where Cattrall was raised. "I'm coming home again," she said. "The mountains, the orcas, when I was a teenager I didn't appreciate it. But now, they're bringing me back."

By all accounts, the couple seem to have a low-key lifestyle. Thomas isn't a Hollywood type and previously worked at the BBC. Cattrall has said that the pair "have tea together every morning." It's a sweet routine that signals she's done with grinding endlessly at her career. This time around, it seems like Cattrall's back home and prioritizing her relationships.