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The Girl Next Door

Katie Holmes Sweetens the Pot for Her Costars

By Jeffrey Slonim

This is one sweet girl who comes armed with the best cookies in the world, according to the cast and crew of "The Extra Man," who gushed about the actress's sweet ways at the movie's New York premiere on Monday.

"Katie Holmes is so much fun and really down to earth," director Shari Springer Berman told PEOPLE on the red carpet. "She bought cookies for everybody on the set one day. And they were the best cookies I ever had. They were these extremely fattening chocolate chip cookies that she probably just took a nibble of."

Only truly "nice" actors do things like that, says Berman. "Usually the miserable ones don't," she adds.

Holmes, 31, also made quite the impression on costar Paul Dano, whose character has a crush on her. "She's probably one of the sweetest, kindest people I've ever met," says Dano, 26. "We got to know each other hanging out all day. You play cards, grab a juice. With the guy-girl thing, you want to feel comfortable. You don't want to be intimidated by the person you're working with."

That agreeable nature made Holmes perfect for the part of Mary Powell, says Jonathan Ames, the author of the book on which the comedy is based. "She's an excellent love interest," says Ames, 46. "She's dreamy, looks like she's from another era and very emotive. Katie's character has an innocence, a sweetness. … She's graceful, elegant and beautiful."

In the film, Kevin Klein plays a society mentor to Dano's character. So, who is Holmes's mentor? "Every day my husband [Tom Cruise] inspires me, my family … my daughter," she says. "We're always sort of creating new things, whether it's a party or, you know, a script or a movie. ... We try to have a very creative household."

Will daughter Suri, 4, be flexing her creativity in the movie business down the road? "She'll do whatever she wants," Holmes says, "and she'll be great at it."