BL17 FINAL - Page 35



INTERVIEW
JOANNA BELL TALKS TITILLATION,
TEQUILA AND #METOO WITH ACTOR,
TEQUILA ENTREPRENEUR AND CIGAR
AFICIONADO CHRIS NOTH
I
IDEAS
t’s late 2018, the night after the lavish Boisdale
Cigar Smoker of the Year Awards in Canary
Wharf. I find myself at Boisdale of Belgravia,
elbowing my way through throngs of
concupiscent ladies desperately wrestling their
way through the bar to get up close and personal
with the object of their desire: the much-adored
American actor, Chris Noth. He’s in town to launch
his Ambhar tequila brand, and also to collect his
award for the Boisdale Cigar Smoker of the Year,
which he graciously accepted at the ceremony the
evening before.
It’s twenty years since Noth hit our screens on the
iconic TV show, Sex & the City, in the role of ‘Big’, the
handsome, enigmatically charming paramour of
Sarah Jessica Parker’s neurotic sex columnist Carrie
Bradshaw. It seems ‘Big’s’ popularity is showing little
sign of abating – in the melee around Noth, the phrase
‘shooting fish in a barrel’ seems apt. It must be such a
terrible life for the poor soul.
Thankfully Noth’s publicist clocks me drowning in
the moistened crush and drags me to the safety of a
table in the back, away from the hysteria, and closely
followed behind by the man himself.
“Let’s do this!” says Noth, pulling out my chair –
nice touch – and sitting down opposite. I’m
sufficiently intimidated when he nestles his fists
under his chin, elbows on the table, and locks eyes
with me. Raising his thick black eyebrows, he gives
me a mischievous look, like I’m one of the criminals
he would have interrogated on his old crime show,
Law & Order. I haven’t looked but I suspect below
deck he’s doing some serious manspreading.
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At over six feet, with chiselled cheekbones and a broad
sculpted body, it’s only his greying hair that betrays his
64 years, but it hasn’t affected his star power; he’s every
inch the silver fox leading man. I tell him he reminds me
of Cary Grant. “That means a lot to me, but my all-time
person to smoke a cigar with is Marlon Brando,” he says,
at which point things take a surprising turn. He picks ups
the dish of butter on the table, and in Brando’s dulcet
tones says, “go get the butter…” – referring, of course, to
1972’s Last Tango in Paris and one of the most
controversial moments in film history, involving Brando,
actress Maria Schneider… and some butter. “It’s my
favourite movie, I’ve watched it five times, it’s perverse in
many ways,” says Noth. “I tell anyone who hasn’t seen it:
‘you may need to change your underwear.’”
I wasn’t expecting the conversation to veer in such a
direction quite so soon, but I suppose you have to start
somewhere. Would he do something risqué for the sake
of art, I ask? “I would never do something that would hurt
another actress, especially with a subject matter like that
– it would have to be agreed upon before you act,” he
says defensively. He’s still holding the butter.
You can’t blame Noth for clarifying; off-the-cuff
comments carry a heavy risk these days. I ask him his
thoughts on the #MeToo movement. “Today we live in
such an odd society, on one hand we’re all a bunch of
prudes, on the other we’re all a bunch of whores – we
don’t know what we are!” he says. “In America it’s a
really weird and difficult time right now.”
Originally from Wisconsin, Chris Noth was born to an
insurance salesman father and CBS correspondent
mother, Jeanne Parr – his father died in a car accident
when Noth was 8. The aspiring actor later gained a place







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