"Last year the production company bought us all water bottles as a present so we don't have to use plastic water bottles. I've still got mine," reports "The Borgias" star Holliday Grainger, who recycles and doesn't drive much when she's home in Manchester, England. "I cycle more than drive."

 

On April 8, Grainger returns as Lucrezia Borgia in the second season of Showtime's hit drama about the machinations and mayhem in Vatican City in the 15th century during the reign of her father Pope Alexander VI (Jeremy Irons). "I've had a lot of fun with her this season because she had a lot more innocence last year, and this season she's a lot more willing to stand up for herself because I think she's seen the consequences of not doing that. And she's not going to allow even the closest members of her family take advantage of her," says Grainger, who attempts to kill one of her brothers in the third of the ten episodes. "She's always got reasons and motivations for her actions, and I think she's got too much of a humanistic side and also quite a strong morality that she wouldn't do something awful to someone unless they'd done something really corrupt to her. But it gets pretty bloody."

 

Grainger prepared for the role by reading biographies "not only about her life bout about the etiquette of the time and things like she used to lighten her hair and these disgusting concoctions she used for skin cream. It kind of puts you in the mindset. There was one recipe I read for lightening hair that was crushed dove's bones." Stepping into the sumptuous, period-accurate costumes by Gabriella Pescucci and Uliva Pizzetti, who won an Emmy Award for their creations, helped immensely. "I like to rehearse in the dress because, when I'm not wearing it, I find myself slouching. You feel like you embrace the character a little bit easier once you are in it."

 

She's ready to continue wearing it as long as possible. "She's grown up a lot since the last series and in season two you'll see the darker side, the evil side. I love her," Grainger raves. "I could play her for years. She's quite complex and there are a lot of levels to her."

 

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