One would never assume a tap-dancing preschool teacher with perfect manners, perfect clothes and a perfect garden would moonlight as a vigilante, but then, Miss Meadows shows up.
Now playing at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, "Miss Meadows" stars Katie Holmes and James Badge Dale, and tells the story of a dainty teacher (Holmes), who takes it upon herself to right the wrongs of this world by whatever means necessary. (An accessory found in her petite purse is a gun.) But when Miss Meadows falls in love with the town sheriff (Dale), she needs to decide what's more important: love or her little secret.
At the premiere of "Miss Meadows" on Monday, April 21, director and screenwriter Karen Leigh Hopkins explained how the story came to be, and how it took 14 years to make.
"I would say there were many versions of 'almost' happening, and then life takes many left and right turns," Hopkins told the audience. "I'm not too much of a believer in cliches -- the one that especially goes around where 'everything happens for a reason' and 'it all happens in good time.' I buy it half the time, but in this case, getting Katie Holmes to play Miss Meadows, it was a phenomenal gift and also to find a producer that is as strong as Mr. [Rob] Carliner," she added. "About last year at this time, is when Rob and I sat and he said, 'I'm going to do everything I can and I'm going to get this movie made.' And that's after 13 years of maybe 402 'nos.' So that's how that worked out."
As for why Holmes decided to sign on, the actress said she connected with and was excited to play a strong woman.
"I loved Karen's writing and reading [about] a strong female character that was also so extreme in her actions that you really wanted to read more and it made me think I'd really want to watch more of this person. And I liked the juxtaposition of her manners and her actions," Holmes said of playing Miss Meadows. "I liked her spirit, because she was delightful and believed in what she was doing and [I liked] the integrity of her mind ... And I'm a fan of strong women and I'm a fan of seeing strong female characters on the screen, so I was so excited to be a part of it."
And Holmes not only acted the part, she showed off her dancing and singing chops for the film, as well. (At the screening, it was revealed that she sang the end track, a rendition of "These Boots Were Made For Walking.")
"If you'd like me to do some more I can," she joked to the audience of her skills. "I love to tap dance, yes, later we'll tap more!"
"Katie brought an entirely new level to Miss Meadows. A lot of the stuff you laughed at tonight, or perhaps cried, really is attributed to Katie," Hopkins told the audience at the SVA Theatre. "Katie's improvisation, her freedom ... there were so many [gifts] that Katie brought."
"Miss Meadows" will be screening at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 23 and April 24.