September 17,2014

September 10,2014

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September 4,2014
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August 28,2014
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August 28,2014
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August 11,2014
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June 19,2014
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But don’t get too used to seeing Holliday in a corset just yet. “People always ask me if I worry about being typecast, but I think you only get typecast if people can’t imagine you outside of that role,” she says.

And with her next role, as feisty Northerner Lauren in the film adaptation of Posh, just around the corner, it looks like we won’t be waiting long for Holliday’s next move. “Lauren is the character who reflects my own personality most accurately. So it’ll probably be my worst role yet,” she laughs. Somehow we doubt that.

IN THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS YOU’VE BECOME KNOWN AS THE QUEEN OF PERIOD DRAMAS. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THEM THAT YOU LOVE SO MUCH?

It’s not like I went out specifically to do period dramas. When I get a script I don’t think, “What period is this in?” It’s more about the story and the character, and who I’m going to get to work with. The fact that they’ve all been in corsets is just coincidence! The corsets keep getting more and more difficult, though.

WAS THERE A PERIOD DRAMA THAT YOU WATCHED GROWING UP THAT INSPIRED YOU?

No, I wasn’t a big TV period drama fan. But when I was a teenager, I read a lot of novels. Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters… those were the kind of stories that got me into reading. I read a lot of Dickens too, and then I went on to study English literature at university. I was always interested in the 19th century novel. That era captivated me. At university I wrote a feminist essay on Jane Eyre and what Bertha Mason represents. Hearing women’s voices, like Charlotte Perkins Gilman, within an era that was so repressive made me think about how much times have changed. I think the reason why I’ve always enjoyed acting is the element of escapism, like you get with a good book. When there’s that added element of being in a different time period, it just adds an extra level of escapism.

IT’S CRAZY TO THINK THAT THAT KIND OF OPPRESSION EXISTED UNTIL VERY RECENTLY?

Society has changed so much. A few centuries ago doctors genuinely thought that when a woman was hysterical it was because her womb was moving around her body! Not because you’ve put her in a corset. That’s clearly not the reason why!

IN YOUR TEENS YOU PLAYED ROLES LIKE ‘PREGNANT TEENAGER’ OR ‘SUICIDAL TEENAGER’ IN TELEVISION SHOWS. WHEN YOU MOVED INTO PERIOD DRAMAS, WAS IT QUITE NICE TO GET AWAY FROM MODERN ROLES LIKE THAT?

Yeah. I feel like there was a change in my career when I stopped playing them. The roles I did in period dramas were a lot more interesting. There was more emotional complexity beyond “Oh no, I’m 16, and I’m pregnant”, which has been done over and over again. Not that Great Expectations and Jane Eyre haven’t been adapted again and again, but there are different levels to the characters. Being in period dramas was my switch from playing teenagers to playing women.

WAS IT DIFFICULT LEAVING BEHIND THE ROLE OF LUCREZIA BORGIA? YOU PLAYED HER FOR THREE YEARS.

The hardest bit was when I realised that we weren’t going back. When we left we didn’t know that that was the last season. It becomes so intense when you’re on location. I spent most of my life in Budapest when we were filming. It wasn’t even a second home; it was home! So when I found out we weren’t going again for the summer I was initially really happy because there were two projects that I really wanted to work on, but then when it came to August and I realised that we wouldn’t be going back at all, I really missed it. I used to think of Budapest as insanity valley because our experiences there were crazy, and I wanted my Hungarian lifestyle back!

WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF AS AN ACTRESS THROUGH PLAYING THAT ROLE?

Playing Lucrezia was great because I got to develop her from a 13-year-old to a young woman over the seasons. I felt very in control of her, and I felt like I grew up with her in a way. When I started, it was my first long job away from home. It’s almost like going to university. I don’t know how much I learned as an actress, but I definitely grew in confidence. Sometimes life imitates art with confidence; when I’m playing a character who is very self-assured, I become more self-assured myself because I have to bring it. I was the only young girl in a hugely male-dominated cast and crew, and I think when you have important men around you all the time, you do need to learn how to assert yourself without being the “pretty little girl”.

DO YOU THINK IT’S HARDER FOR WOMEN TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY IN THE INDUSTRY?

I think there’s a switch side to that, in the sense that men in general have bigger egos and sometimes there can be this testosterone contest on set that you’re automatically not a part of. I do sometimes feel like I have to assert myself in ways that I wouldn’t normally, or if I don’t, I have to be happy to take a backseat and watch what goes on around me.

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May 15,2014


The story of “Cinderella” follows the fortunes of young Ella whose merchant father remarries following the tragic death of her mother. Keen to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new stepmother Lady Tremaine and her daughters Anastasia and Drizella into the family home. But, when Ella’s father suddenly and unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of a jealous and cruel new family. Finally relegated to nothing more than a servant girl covered in ashes, and spitefully renamed Cinderella since she used to work in the cinders, Ella could easily begin to lose hope. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella is determined to honor her mother’s dying words and to “have courage and be kind.” She will not give in to despair nor despise those who abuse her. And then there is the dashing stranger she meets in the woods. Unaware that he is really a prince, not merely an employee at the Palace, Ella finally feels she has met a kindred soul. It appears as if her fortunes may be about to change when the Palace sends out an open invitation for all maidens to attend a ball, raising Ella’s hopes of once again encountering the charming “Kit.” Alas, her stepmother forbids her to attend and callously rips apart her dress. But, as in all good fairy tales, help is at hand as a kindly beggar woman steps forward and, armed with a pumpkin and a few mice, changes Cinderella’s life forever.

May 13,2014
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Featuring, not one, not two, but three of Hunger’s Mighty Blighty Issue 6 stars, The Riot Club is a forthcoming film adaptation of Laura Wade’s acclaimed play, Posh. Today we’ve finally been treated to the much anticipated first trailer, and it’s good.

Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger and Tom Hollander star alongside fellow Brits Max Irons and Douglas Booth in this drama-fuelled feature directed by Lone Scherfig, who you will no doubt be familiar with thanks to her Best Picture Academy Award nominee An Education and the recent cry fest that was One Day. When we caught up with Claflin for our Spring/Summer Issue, he commended his Riot Club cast members, saying that he believes them to be “the epitome of young, amazing British talent”, and he wasn’t lying.

The film follows two first year Oxford University students (played by Irons and Claflin), adamant to join the infamous Riot Club, a fictionalised version of the famed Bullingdon Club. And by the looks of things, as the film unfolds, their rowdy rich boy antics get a little out of control: we spot violence, tears and a blood-covered Irons looking rather taken aback.

While Claflin has bagged quite a few blockbuster roles as of late, most recently playing Finnick in the second instalment of The Hunger Games, it looks like The Riot Club will see Claflin take on a darker role: “When I read the script for the first time I was blown away. It’s a world that I’m not familiar with whatsoever, so I knew it was going to be challenging. I thought that it was my opportunity to prove to the world that I can do more than just be the guy who falls in love.”

Grainger plays Iron’s love interest, “a Northern, working-class, slightly socialist, vaguely intelligent young girl”.

In her interview with Hunger, the Manchester-born actress told us: “It was a great job to walk into. Especially as I’d just come back from Louisiana where I knew no one. It was great walking into the set of Posh where I knew most of the guys, and if I hadn’t met them personally, then they were best friends with one of my best friends.”

The Riot Club is out on the 19th September 2014.

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April 4,2014
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March 30,2014
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HOLLIDAY GRAINGER, OLIVIA HALLINAN, EMILY TAAFFE are about to star in Three Sisters at the Southwark Playhouse. I caught up with them during rehearsals to find out more about the show and themselves.

For those who may not be familiar with your work, can you tell me about yourself and some of your career highlights?

HG: I was first on stage in Dimetos at the Donmar Warehouse. I learned so much and feel like the skills were transferrable to the TV and film I’ve done since, including Bonnie and Clyde, The Borgias and Great Expectations.

OH: I started off in children’s television at the grand old age of ten so grew up on sets really, it was very normal to me. I had a very keen interest in acting at school and did lots of guest roles in programmes throughout. My big break was a Channel 4 drama called Sugar Rush which I filmed while studying for a degree in Drama and English at Manchester University. In it I played a young girl coming to terms with her sexuality. It struck a chord with audiences and was a great stepping stone for me! I then spent most of 4 years in a corset as the heroine Laura Timmins in a BBC period drama called Lark Rise To Candleford. I have been lucky enough to mix things up since, across theatre and screen. Nothing quite beats the buzz of performing live however!

ET: Well, I’ve been very fortunate to work at some very special places with some very special people. My first job though, at the National, playing one of the leads on the Olivier stage (in Nation) is something that meant a great deal to me. I was also lucky enough to play Dunyasha in The Cherry Orchard at the National with people like Zoe Wanamaker and Ken Cranham, actors who I completely admire, and directed by the incredible Howard Davies. And of course, playing Viola and Miranda at the RSC is something I had hardly dared to dream of doing but was allowed to! I particularly love working on new plays so working with people like Lizzie Nunnery, Conor McPherson and now Anya is something I always relish. But to be honest, every job I’ve done has been special in its own way, I’m a lucky girl!

Three Sisters is an old Play about the class system in Russia. This production has been reworked for the 21st Century. How does it differ from the original?

HG: Although Anya has set our world in an ex pat community in the contemporary Middle East, I think Chekhov’s themes and feelings still emanate from her adaptation.

OH: That would be telling! Anya has been very clever in updating the piece but keeping the very essence of Chekhov’s words and themes. It’s set in an embassy abroad…that’s all you’re getting!

ET: Well on a superficial level the setting is different. We are in the Middle East, longing for London. And the language has been updated as well but the story is essentially the same. The themes of longing and loss and self-sabotage which are in both the original and Anya’s version are what make the play as relevant now as it was at the turn of the 20th century.

The play centres around three sisters who are very different from one another. Which of the characters do you identify most with yourself?

HG: I try to have Irina’s positivity and work ethic.. try.

OH: Olga is quite far removed from myself, I’d say I have more of Masha and Irina in me but that’s giving me more of a challenge… she is keeping the sisters together and has the matriarchal role. I am on of four sisters: I’m looking to my oldest sister for inspiration!

ET: I’m going to have to say Masha right now, aren’t I!! She and I both have a sharp tongue on occasion and a temper! She’s also very protective of her sisters and her brother, something I can totally identify with. And she’s passionate, which I like to think I am! But I think there’s something in all three young women that one can identify with…they are all at different stages of their lives and want different things and I think as you move through life your priorities change, which means that anyone could see themselves in a sister I think, depending on where they are at.

If I asked your friends to describe you in three words, what might they say?

HG: grounded, genuine, spontaneous

OH: Kind (I hope!), sensitive, scatty! Ha.

ET: Hmm….I think maybe outspoken(/tactless), funny (on occasion) and loyal.

What has been the funniest/most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?

HG: I once corpsed at the smell of mushroom soup in in a dinner scene. It was usually carrot and coriander. I had to miss my next few lines.

OH: Oh god… it was funny and mortifying… I was doing a play at Trafalgar Studios and managed to get lost in the dark backstage (the corridors take some getting used to!). My poor co star had to improvise for a while… then I appeared in a very flustered state half dressed in a new costume… I think we got away with it! I managed to fall over on a stage once too, slipped on a prop… awkward!

ET: There’s been a fair amount of corpsing in various shows but the thing that springs to mind was walking out on stage in the wrong bit of the curtain call on the opening night of Nation like a lost child!

Do you have a favourite play or musical that means a lot to you?

HG: The Sound of Music

OH: Les Mis was the first musical I watch and I found it extraordinarily moving. Too many plays to mention… recently I saw Mojo and thought it was brilliant, the acting was sublime and I was totally transported into Soho at that time!

ET: The first play I remember seeing was Sive, by John B Keane so that means a lot because that’s the first time I can remember deciding that I wanted to be an actress.

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If you could be a man for the day, what theatre role would you like to have a go at playing?

OH: An obvious answer, but it would have to be Hamlet!!

HG: Iago

ET: That’s a tricky one. I’m actually enjoying all the cross casting that’s going on at the moment so I’m hoping I wouldn’t have to be a man to one day play Hamlet!

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