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Filmmaker Spotlight: Katie Holmes

Production has started on Katie Holmes’ latest film, one she’ll star in, produce, and direct. The multi-hyphenate also co-wrote the screenplay for Rare Objects, an adaptation of Kathleen Tessaro’s novel of the same name. This will be Holmes’ third feature endeavor in the director’s chair, and for those who only previously knew her as an actor, it’s time to take a look at the journey that brought the budding filmmaker behind the camera. 

Holmes was born in December of 1978, the youngest of her four siblings, and grew up in Toledo, Ohio. She detailed to Elle how she originally passed on the opportunity to audition for what would become her breakout role in Dawson’s Creek due to its interference with her school play, Damn Yankees. “I was playing Lola,” Holmes recalled. “I even got to wear the feather boa. I thought, ‘There is no way I’m not playing Lola to go audition for some network.’ I couldn’t let my school down.” Holmes instead shot a self-tape video with her mother — who read for Dawson — and she landed the role of Joey Potter. 

The young actor was just 19 when she booked the part and experienced some true overnight success. After the popular teen drama series wrapped in 2003, Holmes went on to build her on-camera resume with Peter Hedges’ indie family drama Pieces of April in 2003 and then appeared opposite Christian Bale in 2005 for Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster Batman Begins. She also appeared as Jacqueline Kennedy in Reelz’s 2011 miniseries The Kennedys

Holmes continued accumulating acting credits before venturing into directing in 2014 with an AOL original and then in 2015 with the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary short on Olympic gymnast Nadia Comăneci entitled Eternal Princess. The filmmaker’s feature directorial debut came in 2016 with All We Had, the onscreen adaptation of Annie Weatherwax’s novel of the same name that Holmes also produced. The drama centers on the relationship between a down-on-her-luck mother (Holmes) and her teenage daughter (Stefania LaVie Owen) as they journey toward a better life. Holmes detailed to SAGindie that she felt lucky to work on her feature directorial debut with casting director Avy Kaufman, who also cast Holmes in her first film role for Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm. The budding filmmaker also shared her own philosophy about the casting process during the interview. “You learn to kind of let go and let the material take over and let the movie gods take over,” she noted with a laugh. “Because the right people are going to reveal themselves.”

In 2017, Holmes directed an episode of Reelz’s sequel series The Kennedys After Camelot, for which she also reprised her role of Jackie. She then snagged both writing and producing credits for the pandemic-era short Almost a Year, which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Holmes followed that up with her sophomore feature endeavor, Alone Together, which wrapped filming in May. The romance stars Melissa Leo, Jim Sturgess, and Zosia Mamet.

Variety recently broke some casting news about Holmes’ upcoming Rare Objects, announcing that American Rust breakout star Julia Mayorga will star as a young woman working in an antique store as she attempts to rebuild her life. No word yet on the character that Holmes will play, but thanks to her various roles behind the camera for Rare Objects — and all her work leading up to it — we certainly think she’s earned her place in this filmmaker spotlight.