Holliday Grainger Talks To Me About ‘My Cousin Rachel’ And ‘Electric Dreams’ New

Those of us here in the states may have recognized the beautiful English actress, #HollidayGrainger from her roles in such films as Disney’s live action “Cinderella” and Disney’s other film, “The Finest Hours.” I actually was already a fan of hers since “The Borgias” series. And now, this weekend she appears in the new film, “My Cousin Rachel” based on Daphne Du Maurier’s novel, adapted and directed by Roger Michell.

Sam Claflin plays a young Englishman who plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, (Rachel Weisz) because he believes that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.
Holliday Grainger plays Louise Kendall who quietly has feelings for Claflin’s character. “My Cousin Rachel” opens in select theaters on June 9.

Grainger talks to me about the film’s themes, how she approached her character but… we also got to talk about a certain project that she’s involved with; a project that I’m very much looking forward to. It’s Amazon’s brand new anthology sci-fi series, “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams” which totally excites the Twilight Zone fan in me. Find out what her specific episode is about in this entire interview below!

Rama’s Screen: Hi, Holliday, I’m a big fan of your work in “Jane Eyre,” “Cinderella,” and “The Finest Hours,” so congratulations on “My Cousin Rachel.” What was it like working with director Roger Michell and your co-star Sam Claflin and specifically with Oscar winner Rachel Weisz

Holliday Grainger: “So brilliant, I mean working with Roger.. he knows exactly what he wants, he has a subtle confidence, so free and easy because the world that he creates is real in every aspect. I’ve worked with Sam a couple of times before so it kinda felt quite easy like a long term friend relationship. But it’s so beautiful watching Rachel perform. Hers is such a complex character, I kind of had my own idea about her from the book and then watching Rachel subtly changed my idea about the character.”

Rama’s Screen: Obviously, Louise is a completely different type of character from the one you played in “Cinderella,” opposite end of the spectrum, so talk to me about your approach for Louise. Because in a way, I kinda feel sorry for her, she has feelings for this man who doesn’t return those feelings.

Holliday Grainger: “I liked Roger’s script and loved it, straight away read the book afterwards. And I think that the adaptation stays true to the tone of the book and it encompasses the world and the whole emotional dynamic between the characters that’s very true to the book. So I think Louise is emotionally complex but she doesn’t over-pinpoint anything which kinda leaves you the audience with these questions and ambiguity. And you can kind of make up your mind. I think I kinda of got a sense of Louise from the book and from Roger’s script, she’s obviously in love with Phillip but he’s not at that stage yet. Childhood friends and Louise is becoming a woman far sooner than Phillip becoming a man and he doesn’t even notice that she’s got these feelings for him.

And then Rachel comes along. And so along with that the jealousy and the potential resentment that Louise could have but I do feel like from the book and from the script, she’s very patient and she wants the best of Phillip. And her sisterly nurturing aspect comes out first and foremost before her thought of jealousy as a woman therefore she manages to have some sort of self-restraint and is still being open with Rachel, to take a step back and allow Phillip to make his own mistakes.”

Rama’s Screen: To me, Louise is kinda represents what many of us have gone through when we’re wishing and hoping, saying ‘O, maybe if I stick around long enough, he or she will start to notice,’ but then our friends tell us something along the lines of, ‘Just move on, man! It’s their loss’

Holliday Grainger: “Because nowadays we have opportunity but back in this small town at this time, Louise may not necessarily have anyone to move on to. So I think she’s forced in the position of waiting at the sideline to see how it plays out.”

Rama’s Screen: This isn’t your first round doing period film, was it comfortable going back into wearing corsets again?

Holliday Grainger: “It’s not very comfortable but it was different for Louise because Louise was a bit of a tomboy really so her clothes were quite simple and easy to move in. So yes I had the corset but I also had these scenes where Louise was running around on the beach. As much as she comes from an upper middle class, she’s got this country tomboy aspect to her which means that the kind of certain etiquette doesn’t quite relate to Louise. She’s not a character who’s not afraid of jumping on a horse.”

Rama’s Screen: Back when I first watched the trailer and first saw the poster for “My Cousin Rachel,” I thought it was some kind of a girl power-themed movie and in a way, Rachel is this independent woman who doesn’t want to be bogged down, while Sam is a clingy needy guy.

Holliday Grainger: “I don’t think it’s necessarily a girl power movie, it’s just a fully rounded women characters. I think what it is about is the complexity of the story comes from the fact that Phillip is a young naive boy that hasn’t really experienced the world and Rachel is a woman has had past relationships, she’s had past experiences, so she’s emotionally and psychologically far more complex than Phillip is because of her age and experience. And I think that it’s not often you get that kind of film, it’s usually the new young girl that’s being led by the older more experienced man. So in that respect, there’s a bit of role reversal in the standards that we’re used to but I don’t necessarily think that it’s girl power, it’s just real.”

Rama’s Screen: I’m a huge fan of anthology sci-fi series like “The Twilight Zone,” and “The Outer Limits,” which is why I’m super excited about “Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams” series which you are a part of. What is different or unique about this particular new anthology series?

Holliday Grainger: “I don’t know what all the other episodes are about but these ten episodes are based on his short stories and that they’re all completely different and I don’t think the viewers will know what they’re going to expect from the next episode until it starts. So in that respect, it’s kind of like there are ten different stand alone pieces but put together and all are kind of exploring a different aspect of sci-fi. So ya I think it’s going to be an exciting series.”

Rama’s Screen: Are you allowed to tell us what your episode, “The Hood Maker” is about?

Holliday Grainger: “I don’t know if I am but I will. “The Hood Maker” kind of explores telepathy and it’s in a post-apocalyptic world or in a post-meteor shower world with very little electricity and the internet is down. Mutants have been created, they’re telepathic. So it explores questions of how much of yourself do you share, how much is it ok to share with other people, how much privacy you’re allowed to reserve for yourself.”

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