Kim Cattrall Says She Was Once Discouraged by the Lack of Roles for Women in Their 50s

"I felt things slipping away," says Kim Cattrall of her acting struggle post Sex and the City

After four decades in Hollywood — and numerous awards — Kim Cattrall is certainly a bona fide star. But the actress, 64, says there was a period in her professional life that, even after great success, she felt adrift.

"In my 50s, I felt things slipping away," Cattrall, who starred on Sex and the City for six years until the series finale in 2004, tells PEOPLE. "It was a gradual change, but the scripts were cut in half. [In Hollywood] you're either an ingenue or a leading lady and then a divorced wife or a cougar. And I'm none of those things. So I wanted to examine that."

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filthy rich
Filthy Rich. Alan Markfield/Fox

Cattrall, whose new show Filthy Rich premieres Sept. 21 on Fox, produced and starred in 2014-2016's Canadian series Sensitive Skin and could deeply relate to the plight of the main character.

"The biggest mystery of life is what happens next," says Cattrall. "It's about embracing the closing of one door. And it's about your viability, your sexuality, your desirability and continuing to cherish what meant the world to you. I was questioning, 'What now? Do you stumble and fall? Or do you flourish?' "

Cattrall kept working — and endeavored to choose roles that were different from Sex and the City's Samantha Jones, the outspoken, seductive publicist who made her a household name.

sex and the city
Sex and the City. Everett

"I always want to mix it up," says Cattrall. "I don't want to deliver the same appetizer, main course and dessert in terms of roles. And times have changed. If Samantha came on now — and I see characters that emulate some of the qualities of that character — it wouldn't seem as fresh as it was then. It will never be like the first time. And that's okay!"

Ultimately, "it's an incredible thing to have been in the business this long," says Cattrall. "I thought the best thing for my life would be being an actress that worked. And I'm flabbergasted that I've gotten as far as I have."

Filthy Rich premieres Monday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.

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