| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Oct 16 Former "Sex and the City"
star Cynthia Nixon returns to the small screen on Wednesday as
the murderous, scheming Petranilla in the miniseries of Ken
Follett's best-selling medieval novel, "World Without End."
The 2007 book is a sequel to 1989's "The Pillars of the
Earth," and is set in an English village in the year 1327
against the backdrop of the Black Death. The eight-part TV
miniseries starts on Wednesday on Reelz Channel.
Nixon, 46, spoke to Reuters by phone about playing the
show's villain, her post-"Sex and the City" career, and why
television is banned in her home.
Q: It seems like you left the "city" in your acting choices
over the past few years. Were you afraid at some point you would
be typecast after the enormous success of "Sex and the City?"
A: "I got (offers for) 5 million lawyers and corporate
people. As you get older there are fewer and fewer female roles.
But they do tend to get more interesting, and that's a plus."
Q: You've made interesting choices. Aside from Petranilla,
you've played Eleanor Roosevelt in HBO's "Warm Springs" (2005)
and are next set to play poet Emily Dickinson. How do the
A: "With Eleanor Roosevelt, it was really tricky. There is
so much writing by her and about her. And there was also endless
footage and audio recordings of her. Everyone knows what she
looked and sounded like. And she didn't look and sound like me.
"With Petranilla, I just really used the script and the
book, which was so large and meaty. I didn't do any research on
the period. I was in the universe of Ken Follett, and anything I
needed to know ... I could find in the book and the script.
"With Emily Dickinson, should I read the poetry, letters or
her biography? I imagine it's a combination thereof. At least I
will start out knowing something about her already, as a buff."
Q: In "World without End" your character Petranilla is truly
evil and deceptive. Did you draw on anyone you knew to play
A: "I have to say there are people I know like that, and I
did draw on them and their jealousy of younger female relations
of theirs and of people who had an easier life. I don't know
people who have murdered people, but I know people who have that
kind of vengeful jealousy of others and feel that anything they
do can be justified because their survival is at stake.
"Petranilla was wonderful to play because she is so
murderously ambitious and vengeful, but she hides it all behind
a mask of sweet, pious, feminine helplessness. I don't get to
play murderers or sweet helpless feminine people too often."
Q: Do you think parenting with two moms is a very different
experience in today's world, or is it becoming business as usual
A: "It's definitely very different. I mostly think it's a
plus. I think most people's experience is that their mom is the
more hands-on parent, so when you have two there is a greater
degree of help, whether it's homework or emotional issues or
getting to soccer practice ... We have different strengths,
which is nice. My wife is better at talking and getting down to
the nitty gritty and talking about how you are feeling
emotionally. I'm more of the culture vulture and about spinning
a million plates in the air."
Q: How do you exercise your power as the culture vulture?
A: "It's about turning them onto Shakespeare early on and
poetry and that kind of thing. My kids are very big readers. I'm
always pushing the books. We don't have TV in our house."
Q: You don't have TV? Why not?
A: "We have a monitor, we can rent Netflix. But I haven't
had a TV since 1986 ... It's like keeping candy in the house.
There's great stuff on TV and a lot of garbage on TV. You kind
of watch what's there. It's like hot and cold running images. TV
is a lot better and a lot worse since I got rid of it, but it
doesn't mean I want it in the house."
Q: Did battling breast cancer change the way you approach
your work and life?
A: "My breast cancer was diagnosed when I was 40. It's hard
to attribute whether it was to breast cancer or turning 40, but
turning 40 was really a big thing ... I really did feel like it
was a mid-point in my life. Certainly the cancer contributed to
the feeling that we're not going to be here forever."
(Reporting By Susan Zeidler, editing by Jill Serjeant and