Posts Tagged ‘Holliday Grainger’


Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.33.55 PMRichard sits in with CP24 anchor Nneka Elliott to review the “legendary adventures of awesomeness” of “Kung Fu Panda 3,” the watery historical drama “The Finest Hours” and “JeruZalem’s” found footage thrills.

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.35.23 PMRichard and “Canada AM” host Marci Ien chat about the found footage thrills of “JeruZalem,” the “legendary adventures of awesomeness” of “Kung Fu Panda 3” and the watery historical drama “The Finest Hours.”

Watch the whole ting HERE!

English Actress Holliday Grainger on her finest hours and accents

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 5.19.58 PMBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

Those only familiar with Holliday Grainger from her high profile appearance as the 1930s gangster Bonnie Parker in the much-hyped A&E miniseries Bonnie & Clyde could be forgiven for thinking she was born and raised on American soil. A perfect Texas drawl disguised her natural English accent.

“I’m from Manchester,” she said in our recent sit down, “northwest England.”

“Home of the Stone Roses,” I replied, mentioning the Mancunian hit makers of Love Spreads.

“I’m a bit too young for that but it’s a small town so the Stone Roses are never too far away,” she replied with a wicked laugh.

This weekend the twenty-seven year old brings a new accent to the maritime drama The Finest Hours. She plays Massachusetts native Miriam, a bride-to-be anxiously awaiting the return of her Coast Guard fiancée (Chris Pine) from a life and death mission during a brutal New England nor’easter.

“I think I’m quite good at adopting accents,” she says. “Once I started the Bonnie and Clyde Texas accent it was very easy. Within a day I was speaking in the accent all the time and I found it quite comfortable.”

She was so secure with the twang she’d often keep the accent going even when not on camera. The Finest Hours presented more of a challenge.

“I found this much harder. I actually stayed in my own accent on set for the first week or two because I didn’t feel comfortable enough in the accent to stay in it.”

To master the 1950s coastal Massachusetts brogue she worked with a dialect coach and tried, unsuccessfully, to get some real life input.

“I went to Chatham (Massachusetts] and spent an afternoon trying to record people but Chatham is now so affluent and touristy. I was going into bars and restaurants and talking to people. ‘Where are you from? Oh, you’re from New York. You’ve just moved here. Which pubs have young girls working in them who are from around here?’ I’d go and record some of them and they’d sound like they were from bloody Manhattan. Like bloody Valley Girls or something. It was not like the 1950s accent I needed to hear.”

Her character’s real life daughter Patty ended up helping out, introducing Grainger to a contemporary of Miriam’s who “had the right way of talking. The resonance.”

The actress nailed the New England burr and then refined it during production.

“In the middle of shooting the producers would say, ‘It’s too strong, bring it back.’ In my mind [I was thinking] has she been at work where she speaks quite well or is she angry? It’s fluid. People change their accents all the time.”

Ironically after all that work it’s likely Miriam didn’t have the usual regional accent.

“In actual fact Miriam’s first language wasn’t even English,” says Grainger, who will next be seen starring opposite Alicia Vikander and Judi Dench in Tulip Fever. “She was brought up speaking Finnish so she didn’t actually have the traditional accent but for the purposes of our movie we’re not going to play around with that. It’s too complicated.”

As for her own Mancunian lilt, don’t expect to hear it every time she opens her mouth.

“I change my accent all the time depending on whom I’m talking too,” she says. “If anyone had to characterise me they’d be bloody lost.”


“We work very closely with the American Coast Guard, there is no mile of our coast line that we don’t share along the lower parallel. We do the same work they do. I’m watching them but I could be watching my own people. I feel enormous pride in what a Coast Guard does. To have a movie like this produced that talks about the kind of work we do, even if it’s not the Canadian Coast Guard is quite extraordinary.”


THE FINEST HOURS: 2 STARS. “has its heart in the right place but…”

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 5.18.55 PMA new movie based on the book “The Finest Hours: The True Story Behind the US Coast Guard’s Most Daring Rescue,” is the kind of thriller that tries to get the audience excited by constantly reminding them that what we’re seeing is impossible.

“There’s no way they can get over that sandbar!” “This [insert hopeless situation] is a hopeless situation!” “We’ll never make it back to shore!”

Of course in this tale of greatest generation gumption most everything is going to work out well and that lack of any real stakes sucks much of the tension out of “The Finest Hours.”

Set in 1952 against the backdrop of a brutal New England nor’easter, the action begins when an oil tanker is ripped in half, stranding thirty soldiers in a floating coffin. As it fills with water their chances of survival reduce by the minute. On board engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) makes desperate attempts to stay afloat, hoping against hope that someone will brave the vicious 70-foot waves to rescue them.

Luckily for them a four-man Coast Guard crew led by Boatswains Mate First Class Bernie Webber (Chris Pine along with Ben Foster, John Magaro and Kyle Gallner) in a small motor lifeboat CG 36500 are willing to brave the waves and bring the men back home.

The bulk of the film takes place on the water—imagine the H2O budget!—but while the men are battling the elements their families—most notably Bernie’s fiancée Miriam (Holliday Granger)—anxiously await the return of their loved ones from the grip of the storm.

“The Finest Hours” is a big, handsome movie with stern jawed heroes and plucky dames. It’s a story about the men who go to sea in ships, weather bombs and Hollywood heroism. It’s also a tad dull. Director Craig Gillespie doesn’t skimp on the action—there are waves a plenty—and the men are thrown into one precarious situation after the next but beyond the most cursory character work it never feels like a great deal of thought was put into the people populating the screen. Pine turns Bernie into a shy, insecure man who finds his heroic side but the charisma the actor usually brings to his roles is missing. The other actors hand in competent performances but the characters are so underwritten it feels as if they stumbled out of Central Casting before Gillespie shanghaied them for this film.

With few compelling characters the movie drifts along, hoping to reel you in with big, splashy (literally) visuals, but it’s all for naught. Filling the screen with action might entertain the eye but if you don’t care about the characters, how can you care about the action?

“The Finest Hours” has its heart in the right place but is sunk by earnestness and mannered presentation.


Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 3.07.35 PMRichard’s CP24 reviews for “Cinderella,” “Run All Night” and “The Cobbler” with anchor Nneka Elliot.

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 10.48.45 AMRichard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “Cinderella,” “Run All Night,” “The Cobbler” and “Miss Julie.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!




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Metro Canada: Lily James dishes on her Cinderella moment

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 10.08.31 AMBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

The glass slipper fitting on Cinderella’s foot is at the core of the magic of the fairy tale. It is a plot point that cannot be removed. If you do the whole story falls apart.

Real life is different.

Lily James, star of the new Disney live action remake of the Brothers Grimm tale, says the Swarovski slipper she “wears” in the film didn’t fit.

“That is my English humour,” she says. “It didn’t fit anyone. It wasn’t that they just got the size wrong. It’s Swarovski Crystal so it would have broken. They had to CGI it onto my foot, which was a bit of a shame.”

The Downton Abbey star—she plays the rebellious Lady Rose on the hit show—is about to have her name intrinsically connected with the Disney princess, but at the audition she had her eye on another role.

“When you get the casting call for something they pick what part you’re going to go for and they wanted me for [step-sister] Anastasia,” she says. “I remember I wore this pink tie-dyed jumper that the casting director told me to burn. But I had blonde hair because of Downton and they said I should read for Ella.

“I was kind of up for playing the off centre part; the quirkier, funnier part. I paced the corridor for about twenty minutes and the breakdown of the part that Ken [Branagh] had given me kind of struck me. It said she had a generous spirit and a generous nature and an open heart and I think because I didn’t have time to over think I just went in and just read it. I think I was much better for it.”

Her first day on set she shot one of the film’s key scenes, the “love-at-first-sight” meeting between Cinderella and Prince Charming, played by Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden.

“Ken said, ‘How do you feel about shooting that scene first?’ Richard and I didn’t really know each other and Ken caught that nervous energy, that getting-to-know-you, butterflies-in-your-stomach thing. He caught it on camera and I think that was smart. It kind of sets up the whole movie. It feels in that moment that Ella is very strong.”

So how will Downton Abbey fans react to seeing her familiar face as Cinderella?

“I hope lovingly,” she laughs. “I didn’t think there were many similarities but some people have said they think are. I watched the film and in the first scene I thought, ‘Oh no! I’m playing Rose.’ Then thankfully I shed it.”

The challenge of building Cinderella’s glass slipper in real life

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 6.50.33 AMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

“How do you do a glass shoe?”

It sounds like a question from an age-old nursery rhyme, but was actually a real problem for Sandy Powell, the Academy Award-winning costume designer of the new live-action version of Cinderella.

Powell, whose Oscars for Shakespeare in Love, The Aviator and The Young Victoria decorate her mantle, gave me a sneak peek at the unique shoes given to Cinderella (played by Downton Abbey’s Lily James) by her Fairy Godmother months in advance of this weekend’s opening.

“The glass slipper had nothing to do with any shoemakers because it is made of crystal,” Powell explained.

Working with Swarovski, she designed the shoe, complete with a six-inch heel and 221 facets with their light-reflecting Crystal Blue Aurora Borealis coating, out of solid crystal.

“No one can actually put their foot in that,” she says.

“It’s a prop. In effect I was designing a prop that gets held and gets tried on but for her (to walk in) we made another shoe that was the same shape, in leather, that she could wear and then the visual effects (transformed it to) the glass on her foot.

“The glass shoe was the biggest challenge to do.

“How do you do a glass shoe that doesn’t look ugly and huge?

“Hopefully I have done it. It had to sparkle. And rather than it be made up of lots of little crystals, I thought it would be brilliant if we could make it out of one piece of crystal. We didn’t know if that would be possible.

“We spoke to Swarovski very early on and I thought it should be like a faceted, cut piece of crystal and that’s what we worked on, which took several months.

“They didn’t even know if they could do it.

“We didn’t know if it was going to be possible until the first one came hot off the press.”

Eight crystal shoes were made, but in order to save time and money, there was no left or right foot, just neutral, according to Powell.

“No one is going to notice,” she says. “Doing a pair would have taken twice as long and we never see two at the same time.”

Working with Disney to bring Cinderella to life brings Powell full circle back to the movie that set her on her career path.

She cites the Mouse House’s Mary Poppins as an early influence, adding,

“I’ve always been inspired by clothes and I have always loved films.”

These days, 40 movies and three Oscars later, Powell is still finding plenty of passion in her work.

“I love it.

“It gives me great satisfaction,” she says.

CINDERELLA: 4 STARS. ” a beautiful movie that feels like old-fashioned Disney.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 6.51.59 AMThe names Cinderella and Disney go together like bread and butter, peanut butter and jam, or I guess, in this case, Fairy Godmothers and Wannabe Princesses.

Kenneth Branagh and Disney have teamed to breathe new life into an old story but instead of giving it an edgy twenty-first century sheen—no step-sisters toes are amputated in this version—the new “Cinderella” is coated in shimmering fairy dust.

Young Ella (Eloise Webb) has the perfect life. Her loving parents (Hayley Atwell and Ben Chaplin) treat her like a princess, the farm animals talk to her—and she can talk back to them—and all is sunshine and light. Darkness comes as Ella’s mother falls ill, leaving her with the words, “Always have courage and be kind.”

Ella (played as a teenager by “Downton Abbey’s” Lily James) tries to keep those virtues top of mind, but her resilience is severely tested when her father marries Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) and she suddenly finds herself with two self-centered and mean stepsisters (Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera). After the death of her father Ella’s new family see her as less a sister and more a servant, even dubbing her Cinderella because her house chores leave her covered in soot.

A chance meeting with Kit (Richard Madden)—known to everyone except Ella in the village as the Prince—leads her and a magical pair of glass slippers to the palace of the king and possibly into the arms of the prince.

The newest “Cinderella” takes some liberties with the 1950 animated Disney film, the most famous version of the story. In Branagh’s world Cinderella and the Prince meet before the ball, his royal highness is nicknamed Kit and the Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) has an expanded role.

What Branagh hasn’t changed is the idea that physical beauty and marriage are the keys to having a happy and fulfilled life. It’s the kind of retrograde thinking Disney has been moving away from in their recent movies, and yet, here it is at the heart and soul of “Cinderella.” It doesn’t feel particularly progressive, but I’m not sure you can change the story and still honestly call it “Cinderella.”

On the upside, there is strong messaging regarding being comfortable in one’s skin—“The greatest risk anyone can take is to be seen as they really are.”—and the merits of courage and kindness. “They treat me as well as they are able,” Cinderella charitably says about her step-family.

Sexual and familial politics aside, “Cinderella” is a classic and beautiful movie that feels like old-fashioned Disney. There’s an emphasis on the storytelling and fantasy, on good and evil—Blanchett scales new heights in wickedness and looks remarkable while doing so—all supported by sumptuous costumes and set decoration.