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Living Large

From “Law and Order’s” Detective Mike Logan to “Sex and the City’s” Mr. Big, Chris Noth keeps stretching the boundaries of his acting career.
Marshall Fine
From the Print Edition:
Chris Noth, May/June 2010

(continued from page 6)

"I lost my father at a young age and I spent so much of my youth looking for father figures-and I had a few," Noth says. "So I hope the influence of having a dad will be more positive for him. To be a father is thrilling. It's like a new pair of shoes and I'm trying to see how it fits-not in terms of comfort but in never having worn that identity before."

Recalling himself as a bit of a hell-raiser when he was younger, Noth laughs and says, "If my kid does the stuff I did- well, if I can just protect him from that, I'll have done my job. Really, I don't know how I got where I am. I look at my parents and how they raised three boys and I don't know how they did it. It was a much simpler time, I guess. I had a lot more freedom as a kid: no helmet when I rode a bike, wandering in the woods. On every level, there was more room to move. Everything is more controlled now."

And more homogenized. Even as Noth bemoans the way New York City is losing its rough edges, he sees the same thing happening all over the country-and worries there won't be anything authentic or unique left by the time his son is old enough to notice.

"Life kind of loses its meaning when you grow up in a mall, when everything is the same all over the country, all over the world," he says. "The candy store of my youth had a certain poetry. When you sacrifice that for the need for comfort, you lose a sense of memory. It's not just a certain time, it's what a place is as well. I wonder if we aren't in danger of losing the things we care the most about."

For Noth, one of those things is theater. He shrugs at the fact that his TV work has never led to meaty film roles, beyond the Sex and the City movies: "The kind of movies I want to do are the kind they only make about eight of a year," he says. "I do get calls for movies, but not the kind I want. Movies are too much hard work not to do something you believe in. I don't want to do goofy romantic comedies. I've already got Sex and the City, which does it the best. So the movie thing is still up in the air for me. I have more plans in terms of stage than movies.

"I've done Shakespeare and I'd like to do more. I love the Russians and would like to do bunches of Chekhov. For an actor, that's some of the most stimulating material. And I've been thinking about a revival of ‘Born Yesterday.' "

Relaxation also involves cigars, a pleasure he first enjoyed while working in Canada where he was able to sample the joys of a Cuban cigar: "The first real cigar that got me hooked was a Romeo y Julieta Churchill," he says. "And OpusX beats the taste of any cigar out there. I can't wait for the Cuban embargo to end."

He deepened his taste for cigars while acting in the 1997 miniseries, "Rough Riders," as part of a company that included Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott and Gary Busey.

"We were in Texas at a boot camp in the middle of Texas heat-and Texas is full of cigar stores," Noth says. "After a day of that, there's nothing like a cigar to smoke while you're pondering what's left of your life."

Noth likes "a long cigar-I get a real buzz," he says. "I like to be sipping something with it, maybe a little Glenfiddich. I want a good draw. I don't like them too spicy-or too mild. I just want a good, rich flavor of smoke in my mouth and then I want to let it out slowly. And I smoke them right down to the butt end.

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