The Riot Club film: Jessica Brown-Findlay and Holliday Grainger on the misogynistic scenes that left them 'shivering'

Actresses discuss the film's scenes that 'leave you feeling sick'

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The Independent Culture

Holliday Grainger and Jessica Brown-Findlay are two strong young women. They must be, after starring in The Riot Club, Lone Scherfig's hard-hitting movie about a raucous group of misogynistic, self-entitled male students. 

Based on Laura Wade's stage play Posh, the film tells the story of an elitist Oxford University dining club with echoes of the notorious Bullingdon Club. 

In one harrowing scene, Grainger's working class character Lauren is intimidated by violent members of the club demanding that she prostitute herself for their sexual gratification. The actress says she found it hard to separate fiction from reality on set.

Review: The Riot Club

"In the small amount of time between action and cut you get lost a bit," she says. "The guys are such good fun but there was one point where Doug (Booth, who plays the vile Harry) put his hand on me in between takes to check I was alright.

"Having his hand touch me on the shoulder after filming those scenes felt so invasive and sent a shiver through my body. 

"But they're all against the characters that they're playing, so as much as I'm shivering when Doug touches me, he's shivering inside himself."

Brown-Findlay, too, finds herself on the receiving end of the club's disgusting behaviour.

"You do what you can to shake it all off and remember everyone is lovely," she says, despite both Booth and co-star Sam Claflin admitting that they did little to help ease the actresses into their challenging roles. 

Due in cinemas this Friday, The Riot Club is sure to spark conversation and debate just weeks before this year's Freshers head to university.


How the film will be received remains to be seen, but both Grainger and Brown-Findlay describe it as a rollercoaster. 

“It’s funny, it’s endearing and you like them," they say.

"But then it’s just so incredibly hard-hitting, it leaves you feeling sick, and you almost can’t look.” 

The Riot Club is released in UK cinemas on 19 September

Read more: Douglas Booth and Sam Claflin defend The Riot Club
Review: The Riot Club