“The Finest Hours” concerns the spectacle of two oil tankers being pummeled by one serious nor’easter. Actor Holliday Grainger wasn’t part of that. She plays Miriam, the fiancee of Chris Pine’s Bernard, who drives the rescue lifeboat into hundred foot waves to save the crews. She didn’t arrive till the end of production.
“My first day they’d been shooting with the guys for months,” Grainger tells us. “When I arrived everyone was staring at me — like, ‘Oh my god, it’s a girl!’ There was this totally different creature in their midst.”
Nevertheless, the 27-year-old English actress — best known for the Showtime drama “The Borgias,” the TV miniseries “Bonnie and Clyde” (as the former) and last year’s “Cinderella,” in which she played one of the wicked stepsisters — wasn’t simply The Girl. Based on a real event that happened off of Cape Cod in 1952, the film posits Miriam as headstrong. She’s the one who proposes to Bernard, not the other way around, which even today is often seen as a no-no.
“I don’t just think she’s strong for the period,” explains the actress. “Even nowadays she would be quite remarkable.” She spends part of the film storming into the Coast Guard office, demanding her man’s boss (Eric Bana) bring them home. “I don’t think doing that is a question for her. It’s not that she’s particularly brave. It just feels right. She goes with her gut rather than just being brave for the era.”