Katie’s Cruise Control

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Though hers became a familiar face while playing Joey Potter during Dawson's Creek six-year run on the WB, Katie Holmes really proved herself a talent to be reckoned with in her impressive outings on the big screen. For who could forget her searing performance in the title role of Pieces of April, a bittersweet drama about a girl who has to deal with the alienation of losing her shocked parents' affections after introducing them to her black boyfriend on Thanksgiving.

That picture landed the second spot on this critic's Ten Best List of 2003, beating out some pretty decent flicks such as Seabiscuit and Lost in Translation. On Christmas Eve of that same year, Katie slipped a half-million dollar diamond ring on her hand after being proposed to by her boyfriend, actor Chris Klein. No stranger to set romance, she had previously dated another actor, Joshua Jackson, one of her co-stars on Dawson's Creek.

Though she recently broke off her engagement to Klein in March, Katie's love life soon became the subject of steady media speculation, when rumors about her being caught canoodling with Tom Cruise started to swirl. Pretty boy Cruise, himself a matinee idol with a preference for fellow thespians, was first married to Mimi Rogers (49) and then Nicole Kidman (38); and he's also been romantically linked to actresses Melissa Gilbert (41) and Penelope Cruz (31).

Now, he and Holmes have hit it off, the 16-year age gap notwithstanding. And neither appears at all shy about admitting their affection for the other while publicizing their new summer blockbusters; namely, War of the Worlds (his), and Batman Begins (hers).

BSN: Though you've made a number of artsy films, Batman Begins is your first bona fide blockbuster. How are you finding being involved with a film that's generating so much buzz?

KH: "I'm thrilled! Bring it on! I just saw the movie last week and I'm so proud to be in it. And I had a great time making it."

BSN: What was it like to have an opportunity to work with a couple of Academy-Award-winners in Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, and with Oscar-nominees Liam Neeson,  Ken Watanabe and Tom Wilkinson?

KH: "It was an honor. I felt so honored to be a part of this cast and to work with [director] Chris Nolan. And I loved the story. "

BSN: Did you enjoy the role of Rachel?

KH: "It was just really exciting to play a female character who was so strong. At times, she was, for lack of better words, a damsel-in-distress, and needed help at moments. But she's a fighter. And I liked that. I like fighters."

BSN: Have you signed on for a sequel yet?

KH: "Not really, but I'm mentally committed." 

BSN: There's so much media attention being given to your relationship with Tom Cruise. Did the two of you ever consider keeping it a secret? 

KH: "No. Why should we? We're happy. Why not share it? I'm so happy. I'm so thrilled. I mean, I want to tell the whole world. It's amazing!"

BSN: How did you two meet?

KH: "I met Tom one special day in April, and I'm so in love. He's the most amazing man in the entire world. I couldn't be happier."

BSN: Some tabloids have been speculating that this might just be a publicity stunt, since you both have movies being released now. Does reading that that bother you?

KH: "I don't read it, because there are so many people who are so happy for us, and it's like, 'Great!' That other stuff? Who cares?"

BSN: Tom has been just as positive about you while making the rounds promoting his picture. Don't you get tired of his being so upbeat all the time?

KH: "I love that. I think that's great. He's such a bright light, and he's such a wonderful, kind person that I miss him when I leave the room. I love him." 

BSN: Has anybody offered you any advice since April suggesting that you might need to protect yourself?

KH: "No! [laughs] Protect myself from what?�

BSN: Who knows? From overexposure, lies, gossip or just pure conjecture?

KH: "Thank you, but I'm the happiest I've ever been."

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