Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby explore life and love as two poets affected with bipolar disorder in the new film Touched With Fire, which draws its name from Kay Redfield Jamison’s 1996 book of the same. But the film is not an adaptation of Jamison’s book (it was initially called Mania Days when it debuted at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival); instead, Touched With Fire pulls themes from her research, which found how a great number of brilliant artists in human history were also bipolar.
“When I came across Touched With Fire, it was a revelation,” director Paul Dalio said in an interview with The Huffington Post earlier this year. “You go from thinking you’re a genetic defect to maybe thinking it’s a gift. You go from thinking that I’m going to just get by in life to maybe I can do something meaningful in life with this. There’s a beauty to it.”
Dalio himself is bipolar, and based both lead characters on things he experienced in his real life. The two stars meet while hospitalized, and form a deep, loving bond against the wishes of family and doctors.
“Katie’s character is what I was like when I first got sick — I was really scared and ashamed of it,” Dalio said. “Then I became more like Luke’s character, which is when I started to romanticize bipolar. I kind of closed the door on my past. I didn’t think I was that person. I embraced lunacy and being a lunatic. That’s how I coped with it at this time. The romanticization is what I went through also.”
Executive produced by Spike Lee, Touched With Fire opens in theaters on Feb. 12, 2016. Watch the film’s new trailer above.