Katie Holmes & Luke Kirby Deal With Mental… by Uinterview

Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby star opposite one another in Paul Dalio‘s Touched with Fire, which explores the relationship between two bipolar poets.

Katie Holmes & Luke Kirby ‘Touched By Fire’ Video

Holmes stars in Touched with Fire as an accomplished poet named Carla, who has long battled her bipolar disorder. After accidentally checking herself into a psychiatric hospital, unaware that she won’t be able to leave of her own volition, she’s stuck there. During a counseling session she meets Dalio proxy Marco (Luna), played by Kirby.

For both Holmes and Kirby, getting into the headspace of their characters required a fair amount of preparation. But once filming began, in order to be authentic, they had to dive fully into the story and into the minds of Carla and Marco.

“The first time we met, we kinda both agreed: ok, this is gunna be a challenge. And are we ready for this? Can we do this?” Holmes told uInterview exclusively. “Everyday, we had the common goal of trying to make this as authentic as possible.”

Kirby chimed in, “You just try to fill your bucket as much as you can with anything that is meaningful to you. So it’s, you know, literature, observation, behavior…. Then you sort of determine that you’re not gunna get to do a lot with it, and you kind of throw it out and hope for the best, and luckily when have someone, you know, as strong and determined as Kate is, it’s sort of good to go.”

For Holmes, shooting Touched with Fire was both physically and emotionally demanding. From freezing cold temperatures, to the feeling of being trapped, the film proved challenging for the Dawson’s Creek alum.

“Physically, it was being in the mountain water. That was – I’m serious – that was like going into a freezer, a liquid freezer,” said Holmes. “Emotionally, wow, there were so many. I think when our characters were in the hospital. It was really challenging and very disturbing to think about people being kept against their will.”

In Touched with Fire, Holmes character seems more open to the idea of medication, not convinced that it will blunt her creativity. Kirby’s character, on the other hand, sees his mania as a blessing that he’d rather not risk losing with drugs.

“He has felt so much rejection because of [his bipolar], and felt so removed from the status quo because of it that he, having given it value, it’s a huge deal from him,” Kirby explained of Marco. “The danger of that is he sort of loses sight of the need to seek help, treatment, because without it, you know, he will burn out and unfortunately hurt people along the way.”

Touched with Fire will premiere at select theaters, Friday, Feb. 12.


Q: Tell me a little bit about how you got into the headspace of playing bipolar people in this film? -

Katie Holmes: Well, I worked with someone in preparation for this, and did a lot of research and practiced. Then we depended a lot on our director and on each other. The first time we met, we kinda both agreed: OK, this is gunna be a challenge. And are we ready for this? Can we do this? Because it's really on, we gotta make this work. We made that decision and we just, everyday, we had the common goal of trying to make this as authentic as possible.

Luke Kirby: I think, you know, you just try to fill your bucket as much as you can with anything that is meaningful to you. So it’s, you know, literature, observation, behavior. Paul was a great resource, and then you sort of determine that you're not gunna get to do a lot with it, and you kind of throw it out and hope for the best, and luckily when have someone, you know, as strong and determined as Kate is, it’s sort of good to go.

Q: Did either of you have, I mean I guess we all know bi-polar people, did either of you know somebody in your personal life, maybe that you modeled your performance after? -

Luke Kirby: No, I mean, I didn't. It wasn't modeled after anyone, I don't think. I was familiar with bi-polar mostly because of other work that I have done, and it kinda put me in touch with Kate Jamison’s work and William Styron’s writing. But, no. Sort of more trying to, you know, pull it out of the mud of the imagination.

Q: There are so many tough scenes in the film, which one for you was the most difficult, Katie? -

Katie Holmes: Well, physically, it was being in the mountain water. That was – I'm serious – that was like going into a freezer, a liquid freezer. Emotionally, wow, there were so many. I think when we were, when our characters were in the hospital. It was really challenging and very disturbing to think about people being kept against their will.

Q: One of the really interesting things about the film, I think, is this idea that bipolar is actually an advantage, which your character expresses. Talk a little about how your character feels about bipolar, and that sort of strange relationship there? -

Luke Kirby: I think when we meet him, he sort of has found a way into living with the condition where he just, you know... He has felt so much rejection because of it, and felt so removed from the status quo because of it that he, having given it value, is a huge deal from him. I think that, you know, obviously, that the danger of that is he sort of loses sight of the need to seek help, treatment, because without it, you know, he will burn out and unfortunately hurt people along the way. So, you know, I think that’s sort of where he is at.