Every Latimer Talks is an extraordinary event, but this month’s Talks was particularly special. August’s Latimer Talks was run in conjunction with the BFI and IdeasTap and as such, Latimer Creative Media were able to welcome Kim Cattrall to BFI Southbank.
The session was kicked off with the usual 1 minute pitches. Thea pitched an online project called ‘Poetics’ for budding poets, writers and spoken word artists and Emeka screened a trailer for his project ‘Try Life’ an online interactive drama where the viewers make the decisions for plot lines. Both invited those in the audience to approach them if they wanted to get involved.
Luke Healy is our host for the session and introduces our guest as Kim Victoria Cattrall. This led to discussion about her rather regal, rather English surname. A surprise for most as there is no hint of British-ness about Kim. She tells us that she was born in Liverpool to English parents before they emigrated to Canada. One thing that became apparent in the course of the interview is the incredible warmth with which Kim spoke of her parents, and their unwavering support of her during her years growing up. She described her parents as “real pioneers” as her father first travelled on a ‘ten pound package’ to find work across the Atlantic working as a delivery man for phonebooks and eggs before Kim and her mother joined him.
“I think everyone is creative” Kim says when asked if her other siblings were in the ‘creative’ industry too- her sister was a talented singer as well. During her time in New York, she waited tables and babysat at night, living what Luke described as a ‘romantic’ lifestyle is still looked upon fondly by Kim- “Belongings can weigh you down.” The conversation then moves onto Kim’s education and her ‘screen epiphany’ (a term used by the film industry to describe the one moment when an actor or actress has a moment of great realisation) Kim says her epiphany was watching Dame Janet Suzman (now her mentor and friend) at the RSC in the 60s when she was 11.
For all the budding actors and actresses in the audience, she gives advice given to her at her graduation from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Upon telling her Principal that she felt like she had not learnt enough or felt she had a comprehensive knowledge of the craft, she was told that the skills had been given to her for her to build upon independently- to “sharpen your own tools.” . It was inspiring to see that such an established actress, on stage, on screen and on television, even today is still learning, still training and even checking entries in the Actors’ Thesaurus daily to improve upon her craft.
The event is wrapped up with a Q and A session in which Kim gives parting advice to budding thespians. She says “it’s the experience, not just the part” that is the most important thing about a role she plays now. Today, the parts she plays always mean something more to her; Mother-Daughter relationships in particular call out to her. Playing a particular character has to be an experience with further depths to the part. Her parting words are poignant and speak at a fundamental level for the industry, paying heed to the necessary co operation of writers, directors and actors. In particular pointing out that the base material of a script and its writing is, in Kim’s opinion, the most important; “It all starts with the material… it all starts with your story.”
Many thanks to the BFI and IdeasTap for making this collaboration possible with Latimer Talks.