KIM CATTRALL is catching up with long time friends as she headlines a production of PRIVATE LIVES with PAUL GROSS in her old stomping ground of Toronto.

“(Celebrity chef) Jamie Kennedy is one of my old pals. He’s just about to serve lunch. It smells so good,” KIM said with a big smile as she glanced at a nearby buffet table during a recent interview in the basement of the ROYAL ALEXANDRA THEATRE, where the play opened last night.

“I have a lot of friends here in Toronto,” commented the actor, who played sexpot SAMANTHA JONES in the SEX & THE CITY series and films.

“I haven’t seen very much of them since I got here because TIFF (the Toronto International Film Festival) was happening and we were also rehearsing and doing technical rehearsals. After we open, I think I’ll have a lot more time to kind of get back into Toronto life.”

Born in Liverpool, England, KIM grew up in British Columbia and performed in various Canadian venues, including Vancouver’s CITY STAGE and TORONTO FREE THEATRE in the early 1970s.

She hasn’t done theatre in Canada since she costarred with MAURY CHAYKIN in a MARTIN KINCH play in Toronto some 35 years ago.

In NOEL COWARD’S comedy PRIVATE LIVES, KIM plays AMANDA, a newlywed who discovers on her honeymoon in the French Riviera that her detestable ex husband (PAUL GROSS) and his new wife are in the adjacent hotel room. SIMON PAISLEY DAY and ANNA MADELEY play the respective spouses of KIM and PAUL.

KIM also played AMANDA in London’s West End last year, opposite MATTHEW MACFADYEN. RICHARD EYRE, who directed that production, also helms the current incarnation that runs through OCTOBER 30 and then moves on to Broadway.

PAUL came on board after KIM and RICHARD EYRE approached him about replacing MATTHEW MACFADYEN, who couldn’t do the show in Toronto.

“In a lot of ways, we are alphas in our own worlds, so that does translate (on stage),” KIM said of PAUL, the Calgary born former star of TV’s SLINGS & ARROWS and DUE SOUTH who also wrote, directed and acted in the films MEN WITH BROOMS and PASSCHENDAELE.

“And I adore Paul. I think he’s incredibly talented and smart. And bossy β€” he’s very bossy,” she added with a laugh after she and her costar giggled and joked their way through a photo shoot together.

“He’s bossy, but he thinks I’m bossy so I guess it’s even Steven.”

PAUL is also a better dancer than she is, she admitted.

“I was a better dancer than my last Elyot, but he’s a much better dancer than me,” KIM remarked as she sat in an armchair in a black dress with a floral print and black heels.

“He has such grace and pomp and he has a great imagination and it’s really fun to play with him. I feel like we’re playing. That’s what it feels like…and always in safe hands. I know he’s going to get the ball back to me.”

PAUL also noted that they “play extremely well together on stage.”

“It’s been absolutely a joy to work with her,” said the dashing actor, whose other theatre credits include the title role in the STRATFORD SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL’S 2000 production of HAMLET.

“She’s incredibly responsive as an actress and she commits completely to the material we’re working on.”

That ability to feed off each other’s energies on stage is vital as they have to tear through snappy fast paced dialogue and depict the characters’ stormy relationship, he noted.

“There’s an extremity in their relationship that some relationships have that I’ve at least seen in my lifetime and I think most people have some acquaintanceship with. It’s those people who are absolutely drawn to each other – sexually drawn to each other – in a way that whenever they’re around each other’s orbit they’re just sort of sucked into each other and yet they can’t be together because it’s warfare.”

“I have a couple of very good friends who have exactly this kind of history with somebody,” he added with a laugh.

“One of my friends has been married to the same woman five times and it usually ends up in 911 calls and zip cuffs.”

Indeed, the relationship between AMANDA and ELYOT is tempestuous. At one point in the play, which NOEL COWARD first unveiled in 1930, the two hit each other.

“There’s a lot of gasps, especially in the fight scene, because it’s really brutal to watch,” said KIM.

“It’s all controlled and nobody gets hurt β€” a bruise here and there β€” but it’s quite shocking to see people hitting. It’s one thing, I think, if it’s two guys. But if it’s a man and a woman going at it, I think for a lot of people that’s a lot tougher to watch.”

AMANDA “gives as good as she gets,” added KIM.

“I’ve seen the play a couple of times and she’s been played quite stiff and reserved and removed. And I felt that in the writing – so did Richard Eyre – that there was room for a different kind of interpretation.”

KIM has performed on Broadway before, opposite IAN McKELLEN in an adaptation of CHEKHOV’S WILD HONEY.

PAUL has never starred on the Great White Way. But he’s not nervous about the idea.

“I don’t know what it means to play Broadway. I don’t know what it means to open a show there. I think it’s probably functionally not very different than what we’re doing here and to a certain extent I’m more thrilled about playing it in the town I live in than New York.”

“But I’m also looking forward to New York, for whatever that experience becomes.”

KIM said she’d love to do more theatre in Canada the future, noting she’d like to take on new Canadian plays or Canadian productions.

In the meantime, she’s in the process of negotiating for the film rights for a project, which she hopes to do through her Canadian based production company FERTILE GROUND PRODUCTIONS.

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