Kim Cattrall plays the widow of a televangelist in "Filthy Rich." Photo courtesy of Fox
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- For Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall, the most intriguing aspect of her Filthy Rich character is her faith.
Cattrall portrays Margaret Monreaux, the wife of successful televangelist Eugene Monreaux (Gerald McRaney). When her husband dies in a plane crash, Margaret learns of his secret affairs and the children he fathered, who now want their share of his estate.
"There are many sides to this character," Cattrall said on a recent Television Critics Association panel.
Margaret is a mother to her own grieving children. She remains the public face of the Monreaux church, and shows different sides to her friends and loved ones privately.
"And then there's the Margaret who prays," Cattrall said.
Exploring Margaret's faith was new territory, Cattrall said, because she did not grow up with a religious background. She discovered keys to Margaret's character in her prayer practice.
"In those moments of prayer, you get to see the vulnerability," Cattrall said.
The circumstances of Filthy Rich test Margaret's faith. She searches for the reasons she lost her husband, why he kept secrets and why she's forced to deal with new threats to their empire.
"Why would you test me this way?" Cattrall said Margaret asks. "I passed this test. Now, it won't stop and I don't know what to do."
Prayer scenes also provide chances for Cattrall to explore what she considers the real Margaret. Even in private, with her immediate family, Margaret puts on a front of strength and certainty.
"What is she to herself?" Cattrall asked rhetorically. "How does she take care of herself?"
Cattrall said Filthy Rich has opened her up to religion in her personal life. The actor said she previously focused on faith in herself, but she has observed the benefits of prayer both on the show and among her friends.
"Whether it's a political choice or a personal choice, prayer seems to be a guiding light," Cattrall said.
Filthy Rich also appealed to Cattrall's sense of mortality. Because she turned 60 in 2016, Cattrall said, she related to Margaret's grief and issues related to aging.
"I was having a lot of questions about midlife crisis, about menopause," Cattrall asid. "You're starting to lose your family members. You're starting to lose friends."
Cattrall said playing characters helps her work through her own feelings. She hopes that audiences will relate, too.
"I have these questions," Cattrall said. "I think if I'm having them, maybe other people are having them. Maybe other women are having them."
One aspect of Filthy Rich relates to her Sex and the City role. The HBO comedy was a fashion showcase, and Cattrall said Margaret's wardrobe reflects her character development, too.
"Before the plane crash, before all those things happen, you see one Margaret," Cattrall said. "At the end, you start to see a slightly different Margaret. She's standing up on her own two feet. making her own decisions and taking over."
Cattrall said Sex and the City stylist Pat Field still influences her relationship with fashion. The actor describes Margaret's fashion on Filthy Rich as "powerful, strong, resolute."
Samantha, Cattrall's Sex and the City character, was anything but devout. Cattrall said one similarity between Sex and the City and Filthy Rich is that neither show judged the characters she played, and neither did she.
"Acceptance [is] easy to get behind," Cattrall said.
Filthy Rich is not Cattrall's first show since Sex and the City ended in 2004. She has appeared on Producing Parker, Sensitive Skin, Modus and Tell Me a Story.
Cattrall said television moves at a faster pace now than when she was on HBO. Modern camera equipment allows for faster production, which means she has to be even more prepared.
"We don't cut anymore," Cattrall said. "We just keep going. Instead of one or two cameras, we have five cameras. You can't warm up to a closeup. You've got to be right on your game every time."
Filthy Rich airs Mondays at 9 p.m. EDT on Fox.