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Katie Holmes Talks About "Pieces of April"

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Pieces of April movie

Katie Holmes stars as April in "Pieces of April."

United Artists
The writer of "What’s Eating Gilbert Grape" makes his directorial debut with "Pieces of April," starring Katie Holmes and Derek Luke. The story follows a rebellious daughter who reaches out to her family on Thanksgiving, offering to cook up a feast while knowing there are almost insurmountable obstacles to overcome in order to spend time together as a family.

Katie Holmes joined the project before funding was secured, and stayed with it through its ups and downs. Writer/director Hedges praised his young star, saying, "For April, I wanted someone with edge, someone sexy and funny and surprising and a bit erratic. Katie picks very smart projects, and I felt like this was a part nobody had seen her play."

What interested you in doing this movie?
I always love a good story. I like movies that make me feel, movies that make me think, and I like movies that have hope. I feel that this movie has a lot of hope at the end. I think there’s a lot going on in almost every scene so it keeps me captured. That’s what I look for in a movie.

Was there anything in your character’s relationship to her family that you could relate to?
I suppose what drew me to playing April was the fact that she’s in her early 20's and trying to figure it all out. It’s not easy, and I think that it’s a very confusing age. So many of my friends who are actors, musicians, college grads looking for a job, they’re saying, “OK, what are we doing? I have my apartment so now what?” I think she and Bobby really represent that time in your young life.

I like April a lot because she’s not what she seems. She has a sort of tough, edgy appearance that leaves you to believe that she can handle anything because she’s strong and doesn’t care, yet she has this huge heart. You see how much she cares for Bobby and how much he cares for her. You start to understand all the confusion that’s inside of her.

This film was shot in just 16 days. Did that help you or work against you?
I preferred it. Not every movie can be shot that way, obviously, but because of the emotional content of this movie, I felt it was advantageous for all the actors. I shot for 10 days so I stayed in that character and that zone, for that period of time. We knew that going in, and it was just one of those “get ready and go for it” [projects]. It was really thrilling in that way. You had to go in thinking positively, being prepared, and just going for it.

The energy on set was just that of, “We’re going to get through this and solve these problems.” It was like a real camp. And coming off of the TV show, I really liked that pace – I like a fast pace. I get bored if I have to wait around because then I over-think things. Shooting with a digital camera, you don’t have to take time to reload, there wasn’t much lighting, so it was scene to scene to scene. You do get to do 20 takes and it’s 30 minutes, whereas it’s usually 3 hours.

As far as your character’s wardrobe and appearance goes, did you contribute to how she would look?
A lot of it was Peter (Hedges), the costume designer, and hair and makeup people. I went around to the East Village and I have some friends down there. They’re really cool and can get away with a look like this. I’m just not that cool. It was very collaborative, but I don’t really know what I added to it.

Would you be embarrassed to walk around like that?
No, but it’s just not me. I’d feel dorky because I’d know I wasn’t able to pull it off. But it was a lot of fun. In fact, I didn’t want people to think, “Okay, I’m putting this wig on and it’ll make me serious and it’ll make me look good.” I looked like Pippi Longstocking (laughing).

Page 2: Katie Holmes on Wardrobe, Passion, and "The Singing Detective"

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