‘Sex and the City’ Producer, Darren Star, Admitted That Kim Cattrall Wasn’t Their First Choice To Play Samantha Jones

Sex and the City was so iconic by the time the show wrapped, that fans can’t picture different actors in the main roles. Kim Cattrall expertly portrayed Samantha Jones for all six seasons of the show. She reprised her role in both Sex and the City movies, too. Cattrall, for most fans, became Samantha, but did you know that she wasn’t the first choice for the role? In fact, a different actor was initially pegged to play Samantha, but a last-minute change was made to alter the dynamic of the friend group.

Kim Cattrall was not initially cast as Samantha Jones

Cattrall wasn’t exactly a newcomer to Hollywood when she was cast in Sex and the City. The New York Post argues that Cattrall was the biggest name in the cast when the series premiered. She was, as the publication put it, “ a bonafide movie star.”  The role of Samantha wasn’t exactly hers for the taking, though. In fact, Cattrall was more of a Plan B.

Kim Cattrall stars as Samantha Jones in 'Sex and the City'
Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones | James Devaney/WireImage

Later, it came out that Cattrall didn’t have the most positive experience on the set. She accused her former co-stars of “mean girl” behavior and has spoken out against Sarah Jessica Parker, who took on the role of Carrie Bradshaw. Parker and Cynthia Nixon, who portrayed Miranda Hobbes, were familiar with each other from their days as child actors. They took Kristin Davis, who portrayed Charlotte York, into their clique, and left Cattrall out in the cold, or so the story goes.

The casting change came down to Samantha’s age

So, why did Cattrall land the role? Her age was a huge benefit. Reportedly, the casting change was mostly about staying true to the book, and the way the characters were meant to play off of one another. Samantha was supposed to be about a decade older than her pals. Her age came up a few times during the series, but there were always undertones that Sam was older and wiser than her pals. Her character was also all about maintaining her youth, either by sleeping with younger men or by hanging out with younger women.

Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones and Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw
Samantha Jones and Carrie Bradshaw in ‘Sex and the City’ | James Devaney/WireImage

Cattrall fit the profile. Davis and Parker were both 33 when Sex and the City started filming. Nixon was 32 the year she signed onto the series. Cattrall, on the other hand, was 42 in 1998. The actresses were around the same age as their characters, making the dynamic seem natural.

Who was originally going to play Samantha Jones in Sex and the City

Darren Star is largely seen as the driving force behind Sex and the City. As the famed producer of the series, Star has a lot of insider information about how the series came to be. He sat down with Deadline in 2016 to discuss his career and he let it slip that Cattrall was not the first choice to take on Samantha. He revealed that Lou Thornton was initially tapped for the role.

Darren Star and Kim Cattrall during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Wee
Darren Star and Kim Cattrall | Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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Star told the publication that Lou Thornton was initially signed on to play Samantha, but the dynamic didn’t seem right. He said, “The problem was that she was in her 30s, I think. And it was changing who Samantha was. Samantha was 10 years older than the other girls, a totally different experience.”

Thornton had a few acting credits before Sex and the City premiered, including a guest spot on Friends. Fans of the sitcom may remember her as Gail, the woman who was turned off by the flashy bracelet Joey Tribbiani gave Chandler Bing. Her last acting credit came in 2001, according to IMDb.