owes her career to "Dawson's Creek
," cut her real acting teeth in "The Ice Storm
," embarrassed herself in movies like "Disturbing Behavior
," didn't embarrass herself in "Thank You for Smoking
, and even tried her hand at Broadway. But she has yet to do anything that warrants the media's massive favoritism and fixation on her (other than being a very convenient excuse for Tom Cruise
, ahem).Is it her looks?
Some may argue that her looks have gotten her to where she is and kept her there. She did pursue modeling prior to her work as an actress. But take a look at Katie during the "Dawson's" era. Her goofy smile seemed to have a lopsided, palsy-afflicted look to it. As long as it remained absent, her mug was acceptable, almost cute. Yet those big smiles early on were just not attractive.
Image © Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Fast forward to her 20s and early 30s and enter what can only be called an adult. Her face finally grew into itself, her smile no longer frightens children, and she looks normal. She looks like a Hollywood regular. To the naked eye, that is. Apparently the media knows something we don't - something precious. Her (gasp!) shorter hair, new injection of adult style, and keeping her distance from the paparazzi turns her into the new Jackie O? Style icon? She's a long way off. Keeping her emotional level taut between "indifferent" and "annoyed" served her best in her younger days. It seems that the baby fat HAS melted off, likely donated to her toddler daughter, and she is starting to look like a lady. Cue the flashbulbs? Hardly worthy. Kudos to growing up in front of the cameras and coming out better for it, but that's not worthy of praise in the cutthroat world of Hollywood where a prettier face can be bought. Still, we remain perplexed. Why all the attention?
Image © Solarpix / PR Photos
Is it her acting?
"Dawson's Creek" was a milestone for the WB. Many tweens tuned in and were hooked. But others found the show as unrealistic and stupid as it truly was, but juicy drama mixed with horny teens is always a winning combination for a TV show (currently, the trend is to also add in some vampires). She became a household name, but her acting chops were still being honed. Her unstellar turn in "Disturbing Behavior" and "Teaching Mrs. Tingle
" were par for the course of teen actresses. Show your face, make some cash, be a cultural hottie, and let your career suffer a bit. When did she rectify that? "First Daughter
?" Did anybody even see "Abandon
Image © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved
She chose wisely with "Wonder Boys
" and had a lucrative role in "Batman Begins
," but all of America breathed a sigh of relief when Maggie Gyllenhaal
replaced her in "The Dark Knight
." Let's prod at her elusive talent in some of the actual good roles she's landed. She was in "The Ice Storm" as her film debut with an all-star cast (Sigourney Weaver
, Tobey Maguire
, Christina Ricci
, Elijah Wood
, Kevin Kline
, Joan Allen
) and director Ang Lee
that got great reviews. Was she any good in "Go
," a drug-fueled Quentin Tarantino
-like story? Some say yes, some couldn't control their ADD enough to follow the film. Her role as the manipulative reporter in "Thank You for Smoking" was a standout little performance, but it seems to be standing by itself. Famous for her acting ability? Not yet worthy...Is it her ability to be a triple threat?
Her Broadway debut came in 2008 with a small role in "All My Sons" with reviews like: "She doesn't embarrass herself or anyone else." In her defense, it was only a supporting role in a simple play. The most recent wish-she-didn't-do-that musical run occurred on the latest season of FOX's "So You Think You Can Dance
." The well-meaning Ms. Holmes performed a song and dance number, sending her appearance fee to Dizzy Feet, a foundation that provides dance scholarships to the underprivileged. Applaud her for that at least, but if this is what Broadway accepts nowadays, Bob Fosse is doing triple pirouettes in the grave. A hellish lip-synch that even Britney Spears
could top, plus dancing like a layperson on a stage that was being graced by prodigies did nothing to help push her star back to its' pre-"Dawson" days. She was out performed by the men in tuxes and looked out of place at best. It was all for a good cause, but it was most certainly see on fast-forward on many DVRs. Let's hope this is never again a reason why she's trailed by the media.
Is it her normal-to-crazy personal life?
Yes. The usual young starlet career, early engagement to Chris Klein
that ultimately dissolved, the seemingly random insertion of Tom Cruise into her life - the couch, the Scientology, the silent birth, secretly running a marathon, etc. It all adds up. And in the recent years, celebrity has come to mean something different than actor or actress. It seems she has all but stopped vocalizing her opinions and isn't inviting the attention unlike some celebrities, but her career is stagnant while she remains in the back of the public's memory. She's seen as Tom Cruise's wife that used to be normal but has since jumped on the crazy train. Should she even care? She's no longer known as an actress but has a name, money, power, and a husband with the same and more. As long as she defines what she wants to do and filters out the crap (no more SYTYCD fits, please) we may one day no longer be wondering "Why the hell is she still famous?"
Story by Kate Kostal
Starpulse contributing writer