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The Girl Next Door

Holmes not 'Afraid' to mother onscreen and off

USA Today
By Andrea Mandell

Don't call Katie Holmes a scream queen. At Monday night's NYC premiere of "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," Holmes said the nail-biting movie, produced and co-written by horror king Guillermo del Toro, puts women to work.

"What I love about Guillermo's writing is that he doesn't write victims," said Holmes, who wore a black dress from her Holmes & Yang line paired with a Jennifer Meyer 'S' necklace and hard gold nail polish. In "Don't Be Afraid," "women are not afraid, they don't just sit back."

Del Toro said he's been a fan of Holmes' for a long time. "I remember when I was a young man seeing "Go" or "Pieces of April," how she was playing strange environments or strange characters and they were incredibly human and relatable."

In the movie Holmes plays Kim, the girlfriend of an architect (Guy Pearce) whose daughter (Bailee Madison) begins to hear rasping whispers inside the Gothic mansion they're restoring. The gateway to a hellish underworld filled with sharp-clawed monsters awaits.

"It's not expected of her to be in this kind of movie, and the same can be said for Guy (whose last movie, "The King's Speech," swept the Oscars)," said director Troy Nixey. But, "They got along like a house on fire. They both like to rehearse."

It was also Holmes' maternal instincts that sold him. "That was one of the bring reasons to bring her on," said Nixey. "When it came time for her character to turn and see that she needed to be a parent…you actually do believe that this woman cares about this little girl."

There was little to be afraid of on set of the scary film. Holmes took young Madison, 11, under her wing, inviting her to play and do arts and crafts with she and Suri on breaks from shooting. "She really took care of me," said Madison. "When we weren't screaming and trying to save our lives onscreen we were having dance parties and just getting to bond."

Not spotted at the premiere? Hubby Tom Cruise and little Suri. "She's a little young for this movie," said Holmes with a smile.