Published on February 19th, 2016 | by Biz Books
The Biz Interview: Luke Kirby
Luke Kirby is one of the stars of the new film, Touched with Fire, which is now playing in theatres. A film that touches on love and manic depression, it also features Katie Holmes and the directing talents of Paul Dalio, whose own personal experiences formed the basis of the film. Spike Lee serves as Executive Producer.
We spoke to Luke Kirby to find out more about his preparation for his emotional role, what the film will mean for audiences, and what else he’s working on right now.
Can you start by telling us about Touched with Fire and your involvement in it?
Touched with Fire is a movie about two people, Carla and Marco, who meet and fall in love. It so happens that they meet in a psychiatric ward and are both bipolar. Together they make sense of life in a way no one else could fathom. They are bound by destiny. But there’s always a come down, and with them it is fast and hard. The movie is about the fight to overcome this massive obstacle.
What drew you to be a part of this production?
I was very struck by how raw the script felt. It was naked and was screaming to be heard. It wasn’t easy to look at but hard to look away from. When I met Paul Dalio, our director, I learned just how close to him the story was. He was seeking, and his yearning was voracious. That appetite is infectious and so, the die was cast.
What should audiences expect from this film?
Audiences should relieve themselves of expectation. I think that’s the best recipe for being surprised by a story and the work that goes into telling it.
Touched with Fire is a film that touches heavily on manic depression, especially your role. What kinds of preparation did you do for your role?
Paul Dalio was so resourceful in the preparation. His own experience was a very reliable barometer for our work. There is also a lot of great literature on the subject of bipolar and depression. Kay Redfield Jamison and William Styron are two writers whose work was invaluable to the process.
Your co-star in this film was Katie Holmes. What did you do to build an on-screen rapport and chemistry with her to make the relationship of your characters as believable as possible?
Working with Katie Holmes was fantastic. She’s a very hard worker and also endlessly curious. I knew very quickly that she was going to lock in and expected the same of me. She also has a great sense of play which was great for finding Carla and Marco in their heightened states.
You’ve enjoyed both film and television credits in your career. What do you enjoy about each of these mediums?
Working on a movie seems more finite than a TV series. You knows its beginning middle and end. Television is a little more like life. You’re always anticipating what will happen next but when you get the script it’s usually quite different than those darned expectations would have you believe.
Are there any books or authors that have been influential to you so far in your creative journey?
I think all books have great guideposts for life hidden within them. John Fante helped me appreciate palm trees. Kurt Vonnegut has helped keep humor alive through horrific times. Barbara Ras wrote a poem called Washing The Elephant that guts me every time I look at it. Reading is a great source of inspiration but also a kind of communion. It also helps me get to sleep at night.
What is the most important lesson you have learned so far in your career?
Get lots of sleep. Drink lots of water.
You were born in Hamilton, Ontario. What’s your take on the current state of the Canadian film industry?
When I was growing up in Guelph, film and television seemed so far away from any reality I knew. It was another planet in some far off dream galaxy. I’m always impressed by how much that has changed and am increasingly encouraged by young artists forging their own paths.
What advice would you have for emerging Canadian actors?
Find people to work with. Work. Go out dancing often.
What other projects do you have coming up and where can people find out more about you online?
I’m shooting Season 4 of Rectify in April. It can be seen on Netflix. It’s really good.
Our thanks to Luke Kirby for speaking with us!
Touched with Fire is now playing in theatres. For more information about the film, please visit TouchedWithFire.com.