Holliday Grainger, 26, wowed audiences in The Borgias and Great Expectations. Now she’s playing Max Irons’ love interest in The Riot Club.
Congratulations, you’re one of the most likeable characters in The Riot Club.
Yeah, mind you, I don’t think it’s that hard. There was a scene in a pub that was a hard scene to shoot. We tried to find the point when it turns from a bunch of guys being bloody rude to her feeling quite sexually threatened.
What do you think is the message of the film?
I think it’s about social injustice. What these boys do is almost forgivable when you look at them as just young lads who have taken a lot of alcohol and drugs, and things spiral out of control. But it’s what they do mixed with their political viewpoint. That’s what’s quite scary, when you think that this is a privileged class of boys pushing each other into positions of power. If they’re in the position of ruling an entire country, how are they going to have empathy with a different class?
Have you ever been a member of a club?
I was a temporary member of a private members’ club when I was at the Donmar Warehouse for a few months and I’m a gym club member. How boring!
Do you go to the gym a lot?
I never bloody go! It’s a complete waste of money! I used to go swimming before school. I was disgustingly motivated back then but for the last year, I haven’t actually used it. I enjoy jogging. I’ve got quite addicted to jogging.
Any other addictions?
Not that I can tell you about, darling!
Did you hang out with the boys during the shoot?
Not really. It was necessary for them to feel a sense of camaraderie. They’d be chatting in the back of the car about what they were doing at the weekend and they were like: ‘Oh, do you want to come?’ And it’s like: ‘It’s OK, guys, this is some process you need to go through as a group for this movie.’ But bless them, it worked. They’re a group of peers who all probably go up for the same parts but there was no sense of testosterone or competition. They could not be more polar opposites from the guys they were playing, they are so sensitive, they’re lovely.
How was working with Max Irons?
Max is lovely, we got on really well and we work well together.
You have great chemistry with him in the film.
It’s not hard. You just have to have rather sparkly eyes!
When did you last laugh really hard?
I laughed so hard my belly hurt after a whole day of press. I couldn’t formulate my words over the phone to my mate, the phone call just descended into ten minutes of me going BLLLLWWWW! [blows a raspberry] and for some reason it’s that very childish toilet humour – literally talking s***. It’s like your tongue needs a warm down, it sends you slightly psychotic when you’ve been on the same thing all day so hysteria comes out.
What do you get up to when you go out with your mates?
Usually it involves going out for dinner and going back to someone’s house and sitting on the floor drinking wine, listening to music, more wine and no one ever sits on the sofa.
What gets you excited?
When I’ve not had a day off for ages and I wake up and have that sort of anxious feeling of what time is it? What am I doing? Oh, nothing! [cackles]. And seeing my mum when I haven’t seen her for a while. Also starting a job that you’ve prepared for so you know you can just dive right in.
What gets your goat?
My mate and I were walking down the street and some guy followed us on a bike, being quite weirdly sexually threatening. Then some guy shouted at us out of a van, then another one shouted at us down the road and what did we get called? A slut, or a bitch, for not turning round. You forget that exists, then something like that happens and you think: how is that possible? Are you not embarrassed with yourself for doing that?
What’s coming up work wise?
I’ve got Cinderella, I’ve got Tulip Fever, it’s about love, lust and desire, set against the backdrop of the tulip trade. Then I’m doing Lady Chatterley’s Lover and a film called The Finest Hours about coastguards.
You sounds busy – nicely busy or manic busy?
Yes, nicely busy until you look at your schedule. People are like: ‘Are you going to book that horse riding lesson in?’ Literally, I’ve just been in Toronto, give me a minute! For the first time ever, I thought: how much is a PA?
Did you hire one?
Nah, I’ll go on to my phone’s calendar.
The Riot Club is out on Friday.