K A T I E   H O L M E S :
The Girl Next Door

Kent Plays It Cool With Katie Holmes, Suri Cruise, in Town; Are They Gone?

Litchfield County Times
By Daniela Forte

KENT—No stranger to seeing brand-name celebrities from the worlds of politics and the arts visit as part of the Kent Memorial Library’s lecture series—Meryl Streep is on the bill for June—the town plays it so cool and collected that folks don’t actually know if actress Katie Holmes is still in Kent for the filming of a new movie.

Despite the film company’s efforts to keep things under wraps, it was revealed last week that Ms. Holmes and Suri Cruise, her daughter with actor-husband Tom Cruise, were in town while Ms. Holmes films a contemporary version of Anton Chekov’s famous play “The Seagull.”

First Selectman Bruce Adams said Wednesday that he wasn’t sure if she was still in town—and after he first confirmed her presence last week, other sources indicated that Ms. Holmes had been in Kent for at least a couple of weeks.

“I might have seen her, but I wouldn’t have recognized her,” said Mr. Adams, who added he hasn’t seen any difference in the demeanor of Kent since the filming and Ms. Holmes have been in town.

The Litchfield County Times reached out to merchants to see if the glitz and glamour of Hollywood had any impact on business.

“We had noticed that she had been here a couple of weeks,” said Mike Moriarty, co-owner of J.P. Gifford Market & Catering Company. “There was a little bit of buzz. Someone in her entourage was in almost every day; she was in a couple of times.

“We were very happy to see her in the store,” added Mr. Moriarty, who noted that the news about Ms. Holmes being in town broke right before the Memorial Day weekend, which made for an especially busy holiday weekend.

Tony Hernandez, owner of the Villager Restaurant, said someone told him Ms. Holmes was in Kent, but he didn’t have any first-hand experiences. “I saw people from the crew for lunch, but I never saw her,” he said.

Geraldine Woodruff, who is on the board of directors for the Kent Chamber of Commerce and owner of the women’s wear and home goods boutique Terston, said she doesn’t know if Ms. Holmes is still in town, but that work on the film is still taking place.

“It’s great to have a movie in town. It obviously brings business, and that is always a plus,” she said, adding, “I think we need to respect their privacy. If they so happen to visit our stores and dine in our restaurants, we are happy to see them.”

People visited her store looking for props for the movie set, Ms. Woodruff said, but she has not seen Ms. Holmes.

Susan Gilissen, co-owner of Belgique Chocolatier in Kent and New Canaan, said that while she was in the New Canaan location she heard some of her staff saying Ms. Holmes was in Kent. But the store in Kent did not see her and didn’t notice any difference in business.

The presence in town of the movie company and the stars was confirmed last week by Mr. Adams, who said he was first approached by the film company two or three months ago.

Other townspeople reported having seen Ms. Holmes and her daughter walking in the town center with their bodyguard.

Ms. Holmes has been a fixture in gossip magazines since her marriage in 2006 to Mr. Cruise. Dubbed “TomKat” by the press, the couple has been the focus of intense scrutiny and commentary since their relationship began, largely because of their adherence to the religion of Scientology, and because of Mr. Cruise’s over-the-top declaration of love for the starlet on national television.

The publicity surrounding her celebrity family seemed for a while to overwhelm her emerging career, which was fueled by appearances in such films as “The Ice Storm,” “Wonder Boys” and “Pieces of April.” In the late 1990s through the early 2000s, she was most known by fans for her role as Josephine “Joey” Potter on the hit television drama Dawson’s Creek.

In recent years, she has obtained top billing in some smaller films. She starred as Jacqueline Kennedy in 2010’s controversial “The Kennedys,” and has garnered praise for her fashion line, Holmes & Yang.

Kent, meanwhile, has been used for several horror films—perhaps because of the dense woods that shroud the hillsides—and was the location for “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2” released in 2008, which treated townspeople to a glimpse of America Ferrara.

The Katie Holmes movie is a retelling of Anton Chekov’s “The Seagull” according to the Web site IMDB, which said the plot develops as “reckless desire wreaks havoc over Memorial Day Weekend as a family confronts the volatile and fragile nature of love. Appropriately, it is set in rural New England.”

Mr. Adams told The Litchfield County Times last week that the film company has been keeping a low profile to deflect the paparazzi.

Associate Editor Kathryn Boughton contributed to this story .