Holliday Grainger

by Paul Craig

B-b-b-b-Bonnie’s Got a Gun
Representing one-half of one of the most infamous couples of the 20th century—and contributing to the folklore of the outlaws who captured the hearts and minds of American society—is Holliday Grainger. The actress, who plays Bonnie Parker in the mini-series Bonnie and Clyde: Dead and Alive, dissects the toxic dovetailing of sexuality and violence that form the crux of the tale. “There’s a metaphor for that passionate love,” she says of the fateful nature of their gun powder-sparked union and their premature and explosive demise.

Told over the course of two 120-minute episodes, Dead and Alive explores the significance of sexuality and violence within the framework of society, as it follows the notorious Depression-era lovers robbing banks together across the central United States. Grainger notes, “When you’re so passionately in love it’s like an explosion. It’s like a gun blast. Life or death. It’s just that living on the edge, the excitement of this spontaneous live-or-die impulse. The two of them were so young as well, so the strength of that first love, and a love knowing no bounds…and their love for each other gave them the strength to take them out of the existence of the Depression-era America.”

Peering into the atavistic depths of her character, Grainger muses, “I think everyone, all of society, is intrigued by sex and violence together—that idea of being in love, that passion is so strong and affects all human beings in love, and that, mixed with violence and danger, makes it even more exciting…that’s why I was so interested in the story. For me, growing up, Bonnie and Clyde was a Romeo and Juliet kind of tale, but with an outlawish quality. Once they got started there was no turning back for them…Maybe Bonnie could have turned back, but her passion for Clyde was so strong there was no release from him.”

Much like how Bonnie was unable to release herself from her bond with Clyde, society, both past and present, seems unable to tear itself away from the violent, non-conforming connotations that Bonnie and Clyde came to encapsulate. The original Bonnie Parker perhaps best articulated the inevitability of her and Clyde’s end—but also of their enduring image within the canon of American society—with her writing. A poem that considers the allure of their infamy, as well as the looming violence and all-encompassing love that would forever define their mark on the world:

Some day they’ll go down together; And they’ll bury them side by side;  To few it’ll be grief To the law a relief But it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde. 

 

Photographer: Jessie Craig at JessieCraig.com. Stylist: Jeanie Annan-Lewin. Hair: Noriko Takayama for untitledArtistsldn.com. Makeup: Anna Gibson for untitledArtistsldn.com. Manicure: Ami Streets for LMCWorldwide.com using Chanel. Producer: Seona Taylor-Bell.