The actress moves past Samantha Jones and proclaims her love for Brits including Stephen Frears and Helen Mirren.

At age 54, Kim Cattrall sounds like a woman with a new phase of her career ahead. “I’m looking forward to this stage in my life, I always felt like I’ve been a character actress in a leading lady’s body. The next 30 years are going to be very interesting. Maybe Hollywood isn’t in my future.”

She was speaking with press this weekend in Aruba for the opening of the second Aruba International Film Festival, supporting the indepedent film Meet Monica Velour.

Cattrall, whose notable recent film work includes Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer, also said she’d continue to work with more European or UK directors, saying particularly that she’d love to work with Stephen Frears.

The actress, most famous for playing sexually liberated Samantha Jones in Sex And The City, was adamant that she’s only interested in work that doesn’t present women as caricatures.

When she reads a project now, she says, her big question is “What do they want to say about women?”

She revealed that she had just turned down a “big movie” with a “big director” in Europe. “I felt ultimately I didn’t like what it was saying about women. I wouldn’t have done that 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. You can use your power, you have it for such a short amount of time, it’s like heat in Alaska.”

She added that she would consider producing in the future to help more empowering films get made.

Cattrall was quite frank about her early film career, starring in films like Porky’s, Police Academy and later Mannequin. “My early career was supporting my theatre habit. Movies became a way for me to do that. For 4 or 5 days work on Porky’s I could live on that money for eight months.”

After Porky’s was a hit, she said, “A whole swerve happened. I started not being seen for my theatre background, and [was seen as] this slightly outrageous sexy girl. I couldn’t get in the door to meet with directors that were meeting with Michelle Pfeiffer. I look at that chapter and I have no regrets, but it was not exactly strectching my acting ability.”

Cattrall, who was born in Liverpool and then lived in Canada, said that she was re-charged by working in theatre again in recent years. “After Sex And The City I was exhausted, I needed I went home — to England and Canada, and that’s when I started working again. I feel replenished, I feel fed.”

For her role in Meet Monica Velour, she gained 20 pounds and showed a grittier side to herself both emotionally and physically. “This what I look like without makeup and lighting. I’m not interested in being a Barbie doll.”

She said she was an admirer of the careers of Judi Dench and Helen Mirren. “They have lines on their faces and are not afraid to play characters as such,” Cattrall said.

Of any further installments in the Sex And The City franchise, she said: “who knows what will happen.”