Feb. 19 (UPI) — British-born actress Kim Cattrall says she signed on to star in the new television adaptation of Agatha Christie‘s “The Witness for the Prosecution” because she loved the complicated character of Emily French and thought her story was “very well-written and interesting.”
Directed by Julian Jarrold and penned by Sarah Phelps, the celebrated mystery stars Toby Jones, Andrea Riseborough, David Haig and Billy Howle. The movie, which focuses on the younger boyfriend and judgmental maid who come under suspicion after Emily’s untimely death, is now streaming on Acorn TV.
“I read the part and I thought, ‘Yeah, I can see this working and I can make it a different take on an emancipated, strong woman that I’ve never seen before,'” Cattrall told UPI in a recent phone interview.
“I spoke with Julian — our director who was really terrific — on Skype and we talked about some ideas and one of them was making her a feminist and a suffragette and making her this woman who at any other time would be thought of as normal, but, in 1923, she would have the right to vote and she would have a lot of independence and emancipation, but she would still be judged in a very severe way because she was with younger men and she wasn’t marrying them and she was bringing them out into society and all of those rules still applied,” she explained. “So, I kind of found a way in, which was really interesting. And I really felt for Emily. She was on the forefront of something she wasn’t even consciously aware of. She was this kind of free spirit. … She’s terribly lonely. She is very privileged. She can vote. She has a home of her own and she lives with this maid and it’s such a punitive relationship. It’s almost like “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” with the housekeeper and Emily. But I just found it very well-written and interesting and dark, which I really liked, as well.”
The actress went on to say she relished the chance to play such a complex and vulnerable woman.
“She’s this young spirit. She looks in the mirror and she’s thinking, ‘Well, I don’t feel as confident and I don’t look as good as I used to, but I’m still out there.’ So, I felt for her and I think that was really the way in. I mean, being known for playing characters that are very strong and know what they want and are not frightened to ask for it, but I really got to, as an actor, really make choices in what Sarah had given me in the script and use that, I felt, in a way to understand more of who she was and why she became victim almost through her innocence, not through her hubris. … I had a ball.”
The “Sex and the City” icon said the icing on the cake was getting to film “The Witness for the Prosecution” in her native Liverpool.
“It was absolutely a homecoming for me and it was a big birthday for me while we were shooting,” the 60-year-old actress recalled. “And they bought me a magnum of champagne and everybody sang. It was just one of those times in your life where you are doing a really fun job with really wonderful actors and a great director and it’s in England and in costume. It ticks a lot of the boxes about saying ‘yes’ to a job. And, then, just also, the other side of it, which is, personally, just having a really nice time and being around my family. It was great. It was really, really a lovely experience.”