Katie Holmes, best known for her star turns and supporting roles in “Batman Begins” and “Wonder Boys,” has, in recent years, spent more time behind the camera. In 2016, Holmes made her feature directorial debut with the mother-daughter drama “All We Had,” and during the pandemic she has directed two features, “Alone Together” and “Rare Objects.” The former film, a love story set during lockdown, recently had its world premiere at Tribeca.
“I’m trying to make artistic movies that are relevant to today’s world and that speak to something deep within all of us,” says Holmes on the eve of “Alone Together’s” premiere.
As she seeks out more opportunities to put her artistic stamp on projects, Holmes has allied herself with a team of indie film vets, Jordan Yale Levine, Jordan Beckerman and Jesse Korman of Yale Entertainment, who produced the likes of Mayim Bialik’s “As They Made Us” and the upcoming Antonio Banderas-Jaime King thriller “Code Name Banshee.” Together they have formed Lafayette Pictures, a production label committed to all things Holmes. In addition to backing “Rare Objects,” which shot this fall, the company is developing “Watergate Girl,” a memoir from former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks that Holmes says mixes historical drama with a deeply personal story. They hope to turn that into an episodic series.
“Katie’s not just a talented actress, she’s a true filmmaker who gets involved with wardrobe and production design, and even understands the financial repercussions and what has to make sense in order for a movie to be successful,” says Yale Levine. “As soon as we were done with ‘Alone Together,’ we knew we wanted to make more things together.”
For Beckerman, working with Holmes came out of a desire to “find people who have a vision and a voice and who want to tell good stories. We want to empower Katie to do her best work.”
Holmes and the producers say there’s no mandate in terms of output, and note that budgets can range between a few million dollars to north of $10 million. “We take an investor-focused view of the budgets, so those vary,” says Beckerman.
And the same applies to the number of films that get made under the Lafayette banner. “We want to do as many as we can without forcing anything,” says Yale Levine.
In addition to developing the two announced projects, Lafayette is working on another television pitch and Holmes is co-writing a script with her friend, Alan Cumming. For Holmes, working with Yale Levine, Beckerman and Korman (who oversees a lot of the physical production elements) allows her to create and maintain a professional support system, one that’s often missing in a transitory industry like filmmaking.
“I’ve been in this business a long time, and I always love the people that I work with, and then a movie ends and it’s like you don’t get to see them for 10 years,” says Holmes. “This situation means we can keep the family together.”
As for the name of the company, it’s not intended to be a tribute to the French general who provided vital aide to the U.S. during the Revolutionary War. Rather, it’s a nod to an important thoroughfare in Lower Manhattan.
“We’re downtown people,” Holmes says.