How You Know Her:
Guest starring in a bunch of British TV, like Merlin, Above Suspicion, Any Human Heart and Waking the Dead. Starring in the short lived Buffy rip-off, Demons, the unordered pilot Stanley Park, and a couple of movies like the recent Jane Eyre, and forthcoming Bel Ami. But, come on, primarily as Lucrezia Borgia in Showtime’s The Borgias.
Why She’s Crushworthy:
Ms Grainger was first recognizable to me as brunette Ruby, best friend to lead character Luke van Helsing (yes, *eyeroll* those van Helsings) on the ITV cheesefest Demons. It was clearly an attempt to capture the audience that Buffy left behind, but there were a lot of levels were it didn’t succeed at all. That’s not to say it was all bad, it had it’s moments. Ruby, of course, had a huge crush on her bestie but was seen as only a friend as she continually saved the day with him after he finds out he’s from a long line of demon hunters with super strength and abilities. I’m completely sure they would have eventually become a couple had the show not been canned after one season.
And of course in various things throughout the years; Merlin where she tried to kill Arthur (which is pretty much what everyone on that show tries to do), the pilot Stanley Park where she played someone named Dirty Debbie and was everything you’d imagine from that moniker, Any Human Heart where she played Tess Scabius, the object of the lead character’s affection despite being the young wife of his friend, and Above Suspicion 2: The Red Dahlia where I really don’t remember her character much because that was a general mess of a production. She is one of those actresses that crops up randomly, quite to my delight. Which is why I was very pleased to see she’d been cast in the replacement costume drama for The Tudors.
I think it’s pretty clear, at this point, that I’m a rather large fan of Showtime’s overly lush and dramatic costume drama The Borgias (I swear, the remaining illustrations are coming). There are a lot of things to like, of course; the, somewhat faulty, history, the devious characters, and the costumes. What I was not quite expecting was to become so attached to the characters. It’s fair to say that I liked Lucrezia before she was played by Holliday Grainger, but it’s also fair to say I didn’t like her to well.
In the beginning she was just adorable. A typical spoiled girl of fourteen who likes to fool around, tease those she’s close to, make fun of tradition, and dress up pretty for portraits. I really felt as if I couldn’t have quite helped liking her, she was charming and just all around cute. But of course, any history buff would know things don’t always end up peachy for dear Lucrezia. And it was with the tribulations that she grew as a character and managed to charm a king into not fighting a freaking battle. Awesome? Yes.
It’s difficult to make a character grow like this throughout one season, and while Holliday looked much older than fourteen at the beginning her aura of naivety made her utterly convincing. That’s no easy task. And when she grew stronger, more devious, and far more savvy in the ways of the world it seemed as if that was the way she was always meant to be. I seriously can not praise this performance more.