NEW YORK, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Dawson's Creek icon Katie Holmes is describing her intense new role in Touched with Fire as a "wonderfully creative experience."
Written and directed by Paul Dalio, the big-screen drama -- in theaters now -- stars Holmes and Luke Kirby as bipolar artists who meet in a psychiatric hospital and fall in love. The cast also includes Christine Lahti, Griffin Dunne and Bruce Altman.
Holmes, 37, spoke during a recent press conference in New York about the challenges of playing a woman whose mental illness impacts both her creativity and her relationships.
How did you and Luke work together to create this powerful dynamic?
KH: This was a wonderfully creative experience. For myself, I approached this project not really knowing much about this disease. When I met with Paul, I was so inspired by his passion and his willingness to bring such a personal story to the screen. The opportunity to take on a role of such challenge was something that seemed right. It was wonderful working with everyone. It was wonderful working with Luke. We both prepared on our own and we had a lot of rehearsals and we depended on Paul to guide our characters and we had a great time.
Did you draw on any experiences you may have had with people you know who are bipolar to play this part?
KH: Everybody on the crew and in the cast, we all had different stories that we shared and I realized through this process how many people have been affected personally. So, that made the work really rewarding.
How did you tap into that emotional intensity?
KH: It was very emotional. When you prepare for any role, there is a lot of rehearsal and a lot of research. This was just a wonderful acting experience and it was because of this whole cast and Paul. We were really allowed to have the freedom to try different things because these characters were going through such highs and lows, and so finding the right degree of that high and the right degree of that low and we really had the space and time to do that. So it was really wonderful as an actor to go to work every day and feel like, "I get to try something and it's OK." We were all a team, and we were all very inspired to create an authentic portrayal of something that is really important. Really, everybody was very, very helpful.
Besides starring in the film, you also have a producer's credit. Was it important to you to also be able to produce the movie?
KH: I was really excited when I read this script, and really happy to be as involved as I was able to be. And I am so proud of this movie and proud of what everybody has done and especially Paul. From the beginning, the work involved is truly incredible and I know that for all of us, from the beginning, it was [about] creating real characters. This is a real thing. This isn't somebody's idea of [bipolar.] This is really what it is like. Because this was based on real experiences and we had a wonderful opportunity where Paul gave us his real-life experiences... that was very, very helpful in allowing us to portray our characters as authentically as we could. [As for producing...] They did most of the work. Yeah, they did.
PD: It was just such an incredible performance and she just put so much... She drained all her blood, her sweat, her tears that we couldn't NOT give her a co-producer credit. She really gave everything she had to the project from the beginning, from the rehearsal stage and the preparation stage. I didn't want to impose on her, so I was like, "We can rehearse a couple of times, but we don't have to do much." And she said: "No, I want to rehearse. I want to get into it." She was intensely involved.