The Girl Next Door
Sherlock couldnít crack Holmes
By Margaret Gardiner
Katie Holmes aka Mrs Tom Cruise, mother of Suri, is a classic beauty of the ilk not seen in Hollywood today. Sheís got a softness about her that makes you think sheís fragile. Tumbling black hair worn to the side away from her dimpled cheek, and huge violet blue eyes, brings back the image of yesteryear. But Katie is tougher than she looks; maybe because she is tabloid fodder. On becoming Mrs Tom Cruise Ė yes, she was the cause of him jumping on Oprahís coach Ė Katie, and then their daughter, Suri, have become a staple in every magazine that covers such things. Not a week goes by without a picture of the gorgeous tot clutching the hand of her mother, as they shop, play in the ocean, and go about their lives. So maybe itís understandable that she is reluctant to answer questions that are not movie-related.
There was a time when she was on the cusp of stardom for her work, rather than the man she was teamed with, that she addressed the press with shy eagerness. The year she and Tom became an item (2005), I interviewed her on the set of "Batman" (she was recast in the subsequent sequel). With her half smile and tilted glance, she charmed as she seemed to stumble over words to reveal this emerging Katie Holmes.
It was with this memory that I looked forward to interviewing her again in New York to promote, "Donít be Afraid of the Dark." What I found was a very different Katie.
Deflecting the most inane, sympathetic questions, like ďHow do you cope with the constant barrage of paparazzi?Ē A demure intake of breath, and glance at her publicist, who immediately yells out: ďCan we keep it about the film?Ē
Can I ask about the invasiveness of the press?
ďNo. Iím sorry.Ē Katie retains her same sense of flowing style, (a soft cream chiffon blouse by Holmes n Young, and a brick-coloured bell-shaped, below the knee skirt), but her personality is so far under wraps that she comes across as a Stepford persona. There appears to be no spontaneity. The degree of control was frustrating and off putting.
This is a horror movie, was it liberating to make and what kind of fears do you conquer?
It was amazing to work with Guillermo (del Toro). The great thing about making this movie is that you have a family and characters that seem very real with real problems. You have a child no one is listening to. She has no relationship with her mother and Guillermo has said the mother is the real monster in the movie.
The journey these characters take in not running away from the monsters but conquering them; thatís very powerful.
What was your first horror movie? What makes you scared?
I am a fan of classic horror movies: The Exorcist, The Birds and Rosemaryís Baby. You invest in relationships where everyone seems happy and then strange things start to happen. Itís scarier than where somebody chases someone with a knife. Thatís what I find scary.
As a mother how do you protect your kids?
What I love about this movie is where the character realises Sally is in danger and despite her physical pain she goes to fight for her.
Looking back have you taken the path that you wanted to take?
Iím very grateful for all the things Iíve done and Iím very proud of this movie. I strive to find quality material. Iím finally of an age to play certain characters.
You did All My Sons on Broadway in 2008?
I enjoyed that: having eight weeks to rehearse a great play and work with amazing actors. You do the same thing every night, but make it different.
What are your fears in real life and do you have religious beliefs?
I love that question because thatís something that is so important for a movie like this. If you want to create fear for an audience, you have to have them believe the story.
But in your personal life? What kind of fears do you have?
Iím not the interest here. What works about this movie is when you care about people.
You donít have general fears, like a fear of heights?
Hmmm. I donít fear many things. I donít particularly love spiders, mosquitoes, raccoons, and Iím hoping that goes away.
You donít want to talk about your personal fears?
My personal fear is losing the ones I love.
When did you find your voice?
I love that part about this characterís journeyÖ.
Let me interrupt, I saw the movie and understand her journey, Iím asking on a personal level?
When I started acting I was a young girl and have been interested in telling stories creating character and every character has been itís own journey because itís a new voice you are creating. There have been many times in my career when its been, ďOh, this is who I am,Ē or ďthis is my voiceĒ. I am always changing and being challenged to row in a new way.
How do you spend your spare time?
I like to be with my family and do mom things, crafting.
Tom actually mentioned that you are good at crafting and you have all kinds of projects?
Yes. thereís glitter everywhere in our house.
Do you still go skydiving?
Weíve all been really busy working lately, so not skydiving. Have you skydived?
You recently portrayed Jackie Kennedy in The Kennedys. How did you embody her?
It was an honour to play Jackie Kennedy and great fun dong all of the wardrobe fittings. She had class wisdom and leadership. It was a challenge because when you admire somebody you want to do a good job. It was fun.
Do you have a beauty secret?
A lot of water. - Weekend Argus