Tribeca Film Festival entry All We Had marks a couple important firsts: It’s the first novel from author Annie Weatherwax, and it marks the feature directorial debut of Katie Holmes, who also stars in the movie as a struggling mother to a teenage daughter.
“What I loved about these characters is they’re very — they felt original and authentic, and their struggles are like so many people’s struggles,” the Dawson’s Creek and Batman Begins actress tells EW about the movie, which had its premiere April 15. “There was a real humanity to all of these characters, and I think that’s what drew me to the project and to the book in the first place.”
Holmes is getting solid reviews for her performance as Rita, as is her on-screen daughter, Ruthie, played by Stefania Owen (The Carrie Diaries). When the two try to escape their destitute lives, they hit the road in a car that ends up failing them. The generous owner (Richard Kind) of Tiny’s, a small diner, offers Rita work, and once she starts making some money, the mother-daughter duo are able to get on their feet a bit better — though not for too long before finding themselves on the verge of homelessness again.
Despite all their hardships, Owen says she still managed to relate to her down-and-out alter ego. “Ruthie is a little bit like me in the sense that we’re very strong in what we want, and we follow through with things,” she explained.
It helps that Ruthie has a friend in Peter Pam, a transgender waitress from Tiny’s, played by newcomer Eve Lindley. “I loved the character, and I was so pleased to bring her to life,” she tells EW about her feature film debut. “It was a movie that was run by women and directed by a woman, and it was about a lot of women helping each other. … Those are really important stories to tell.”
See the full interview in the video above. All We Had also stars Mark Consuelos and Luke Wilson. The 2016 Tribeca Film Festival ends April 24.