updated 04/03/2002 AT 1:00 AM ET
•originally published 04/03/2002 AT 1:10 PM ET
At this week’s New York premiere of “Crush,” the movie’s star, Andie MacDowell, spoke to PEOPLE about her role as Kate, a single, 40-something-year-old school headmistress who spends her time drinking, smoking and munching on caramels with her two single, middle-aged friends. “I had a lot of sympathy for her,” MacDowell, 43, said of Kate. “I felt that she had sort of lost her sexuality and got into the habit of talking to her friends and feeling bad.” In the movie, Kate’s dull life turns itself around when she takes up with a former student of hers, Jed (Kenny Doughty). In one scene, they have sex in the back of a funeral home. “We tried to be creative and think of ways to make (Kenny) look really sexy without actually showing anything,” she explained. As for another scene in which MacDowell had her head pinned against the window in the backseat of a car, “It was my idea to put the little white cotton panties up,” she said. “That’s how demure I thought (Kate) really was. Luckily, I wasn’t married at the time (the scenes were shot).” MacDowell wed a former classmate of hers, Rhett DeCamp Hartzog, 42, last November. And what do her children – Justin, 15, Rainey, 12, and Sarah Margaret, 7 – have to say about mommy’s sex scenes? “My kids won’t see this movie. Not yet,” said MacDowell. “If they want to, I can explain it to them.” Meanwhile, she added good-naturedly, she is sometimes mistaken for other celebrities. “A long time ago, someone was saying, ‘Oh, I love you, you’re such a great actress, I love you,’” she recalled. “And they were talking to me, and I was so flattered – until I realized that they thought I was Geena Davis.” She also admitted that she’s been “mistaken a couple of times” for Julia Louis-Dreyfus.