Exclusive: Luke Kirby on 'Empire of Dirt' and those Katie Holmes rumours

He played an insecure Hollywood action star opposite a then almost-famous Rachel McAdams in the Canadian cult TV series Slings & Arrows, and a sexy artist who seduces his married neighbour (played by Michelle Williams) in Sarah Polley’s Toronto-set drama Take this Waltz.

But this past summer, Canadian actor Luke Kirby found himself unwillingly cast in a different role: new boyfriend to Katie Holmes, after photos of the twosome on the set of Mania Days sparked speculation that they were an item.

In an exclusive interview with Hello! Canada, the 35-year-old actor laughs off the rumours and talks about his newest movie, Empire of Dirt, an ensemble drama about Canadian Aboriginal women struggling to break free from a cycle of addiction, poverty and teenage pregnancy.

How did you get involved in Empire of Dirt? I knew director Peter Stebbings from a TV series [he and I acted on] called Cra$h and Burn. And co-star Jennifer Podemski I worked with on Take This Waltz a couple summers before. I was familiar with both of them having grown up in Canada – they were both on TV a lot. But I got to know them and really like them as people, and they just invited me up. I read the script, really liked it and the role. And I was happy to come back home!

How important is it for you to do movies made in Canada? Getting to go back is always such a charm. When you go back to where you come from, something settles in your spirit. You know, Canada is awesome! [Laughs]

Are you tight with your past Canadian co-stars like Seth Rogen and Rachel McAdams?They are lovely people but they are not in my ping-pong room. But I do think that when you’re out there in the big scary world and meet other Canadians, there is a kind of kinship.

Those photos of you and Katie together on set – everyone thought you were an item. How did you deal with all the media attention? It was a very funny couple of weeks and a window into a curious little world! But I lucked out because at the time of its biggest wave, I was in Utah doing an acting lab at the Sundance Resort. I didn’t really experience [all the attention], to be honest, because I was up in the woods working. I caught wind of it – a few phone calls, a few people coming out of the woodwork here and there. But that was it. As crazy as it seemed, it wasn’t that crazy.

You’ve played so many different parts. What role do most people recognize you from? Now that I am doing a play [the Off-Broadway production Too Much, Too Much, Too Many] everyone around me knows Slings & Arrows. I love that show. It speaks a truth in the theatre world and really happy that it has made its way around.

See more of our interview with Luke Kirby in the current issue of Hello! Canada.

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