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Holliday Grainger, who we last saw in Any Human Heart, stars as the infamous Lucrezia Borgia in Sky Atlantic’s lavish new drama The Borgias, set in the Italian Renaissance. She tells TV Choice more about playing one of history’s most notorious minxes

How much did you know about the Borgia family before you landed the part of Lucrezia?
Nothing! I’d never heard of them, so when I got back from the audition I was straight on the internet to find out more about them, feeling really embarrassed by my ignorance!

The whole family are villains — how does Lucrezia compare to her father and brothers?
What I like about Lucrezia in the first series is that even though she does some questionable things, she’s reacting to a situation she was forced into, and she’s doing something about it. So you can kind of understand her actions.

Lucrezia is very close to her brother Cesare (Francois Arnaud) and it’s hinted that their relationship is incestuous…
Yes, historically that was always rumoured, but that may have been propaganda by their enemies. It’s hinted at in the series, but it’s up to the audience to interpret whether it’s just a very strong brother/sister relationship or whether it’s a bit more.

Does Lucrezia suffer for being a female at that time?
Definitely. At the start of the series she’s only 13 and she’s married off to help her family’s political allegiances. She doesn’t have any choice in the matter.

You’re just off to start filming the second series of The Borgias in Budapest. What did you do in the break between the series?
A couple of short films, and carried on with my Open University degree in English Literature. It’s supposed to be part-time but I hardly did any work while I was filming The Borgias, so I spent February and May frantically writing essays to get them in on time! I’d love to play Estella in Great Expectations. She’s an amazing character [since our chat Holliday, has been cast as Estella in a forthcoming film version opposite Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes]. I’ve also just finished Far From The Madding Crowd, and Bathsheba Everdene would be a great character to play.

Lucrezia’s a mistress of manipulation — are you good at manipulating people to get what you want, Holliday?
I’d love to say I am, but you know, I can’t even lie — I’m rubbish at it! Maybe I could learn a little something from Lucrezia Borgia!


Labels: Interview

Holliday Grainger gives Digital Spy the scoop on period drama The Borgias.

A tale of lust, corruption and deceit, period drama The Borgias debuts on Sky Atlantic later this week! The series, which airs on Showtime in the US, stars Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia, a ruthless clergyman who uses bribery, trickery and sheer cunning to be elected as Pope.

But, as the title suggests, The Borgias is about much more than just Rodrigo. Holliday Grainger stars as Lucrezia Borgia, the new Pope’s young daughter – but is she a wide-eyed innocent or a master manipulator? Digital Spy caught up with Holliday to find out more!

How much did you know about the Borgias before this show?
“Nothing. Absolutely nothing, had never even heard of them! And then I was highly embarrassed when I started researching it for the audition and realized that I really should have known about them. It’s so ridiculous that we learn about the stock British history in history lessons, and everything that went on in the rest of Europe, I never learn about. But yeah, [it was] a fascinating period [and a] fascinating family.”

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Labels: Interview

The new original Showtime drama series The Borgias, created and executive produced by Oscar-winning director Neil Jordan, is a complex portrait of one of history’s most intriguing and infamous dynastic families.  Premiering on April 3, the series begins as the cunning and manipulative Rodrigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons) schemes his way into the position of Pope, causing him, his two Machiavellian sons Cesare (François Arnaud) and Juan (David Oakes), and his scandalously beautiful daughter Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger), to become the most powerful and influential family of the Italian Renaissance.

During a recent interview to promote the upcoming television series, British actress Holliday Grainger talked about taking on a role as complex as Lucrezia Borgia, working with acclaimed filmmaker Neil Jordan, acting opposite Jeremy Irons, and the lavish costumes that she got to wear. She also talked about her upcoming roles in the feature films Jane Eyre (opening March 11) and Bel Ami, working opposite Robert Pattinson, and her hopes of doing more work in the States.  Check out what she had to say after the jump:


Question: What originally drew you to this role?

HOLLIDAY GRAINGER: It’s Lucrezia Borgia! She is so complicated and there are so many interpretations of it that you can go with. I think she had quite a strong moral center and she was quite religious, but she is ambitious, so it’s the tension between her staying true to her morals and her ambitions.

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Labels: Interview