Let's face it, 2012 has been, to put it euphemistically, an eventful one for Katie Holmes, but as the year draws to a close, you don't see any signs of strain on the actress. In fact, at a recent press event for the Broadway show she'll be opening at the end of November, Theresa Rebeck's Dead Accounts (which begins previews at the Music Box Theatre on November 3), Holmes came across pretty much like any actress just finding her way in rehearsals in a new play.
"It's like a sport. You have to get in shape for comedy. You have to be ready to jump -- and I'm not totally," Holmes, who made her Broadway debut a few seasons back in All My Sons, jokes.
And yet she enthuses about the play and the role... and the challenges that both are presenting: "What I like about her is that she's very real. And she, and all of the characters in this play, is searching for something. And when I'm looking for roles to play, it's exciting to find people who are complex like this."
Rebeck's timely script centers on what happens when Jack (played by two-time Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz), who's achieved a great deal of success in New York, returns to his family home just outside of Cincinnati. Among those who are surprised to find him back are his sister Lorna (Holmes) and his mom (played by Broadway favorite and Tony nominee Jayne Houdyshell). The cast also includes Judy Greer (Arrested Development, The Descendants, etc.) and Josh Hamilton (who just appeared off-Broadway in Kenneth Lonergan's Medieval Play and has such movies as J. Edgar and the forthcoming Dark Skies in his credits).
Katie Holmes and Norbert Leo Butz (© Robert Ashcroft)
Holmes echoes her sentiments about getting up to speed when she talks about developing the rapport of a brother and sister with Butz: "We're still trying to find the specifics of this brother and sister, and their history."
Ultimately, what she hopes is that she'll be able to find the same sort of chemistry with Butz on stage that she has with her own family: "You know, sibling relationships are so intense (in the best way), and I don't forget for a minute that I've shared with each of my siblings. Because it all means so much, and there's a lot of 'stuff' in every exchange. And it's really fun discovering what that is between Jack and Lorna."
Holmes and Butz seem well on their way to having the sort of long-term bond that a brother and sister would share while they chat and joke with one another during the course of an interview. The two can even finish each other's sentences. As Butz describes the play, saying, "It covers all of these huge questions in a very lighthearted, very sort of frothy way," Holmes adds "standards" to his list that also includes "identity" and "faith."
Holmes says that it's the combination of comedy and issues that will make Dead Accounts stick with audiences, and in fact, she finds new things to appreciate in it "more and more each day." It's why she calls accepting the show and the role was "kind of a no-brainer," adding, "And when I found out Norbert and [director] Jack O'Brien were involved. It was like, 'Are you kidding?' It was a gift."