Grainger, 26, grew up in Didsbury, Manchester. She gave up studying for an English degree at Leeds University to pursue acting; she subsequently got a first from the Open University. She has starred in Jane Eyre, the TV series The Borgias and in Mike Newell’s Great Expectations as Estella. She is currently starring in The Riot Club, next year appears in Tulip Fever and Cinderella, and has just started filming the lead in Lady Chatterley’s Lover for the BBC.
Who is your acting inspiration?
Cate Blanchett. After working with her [on Cinderella], I can say she is actually the image of feminine perfection. She has her really lovely kids on set, is super professional, incredibly intelligent and nice to everyone. I think she might actually be a perfect human being.
What are you must-haves on set?
A bottle of water, my sides [mini-scripts] and some chewing gum – you have to get up close in people’s face all the time and you might have just eaten some onions.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Realising that a lot of it isn’t acting. You spend such a short amount of time on set in character, compared with the nerves, the preparation for audition and then all the press stuff. It was hard coming to terms with the fact that this is all part of the job.
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