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Stars turn out for screening of sea rescue drama The Finest Hours

Published 17/02/2016

From left to right, Craig Burnett, Holliday Grainger, Jade Cohen and Rudi Barman attending a screening of The Finest Hours at the Ham Yard Hotel
From left to right, Craig Burnett, Holliday Grainger, Jade Cohen and Rudi Barman attending a screening of The Finest Hours at the Ham Yard Hotel

Stars descended on London's west end for a gala screening of the Disney epic The Finest Hours.

The film, based on a true story, is set in Massachusetts in 1952 and tells the tale of the SS Pendleton that split in two during a storm, trapping 30 sailors inside, and the subsequent daring rescue by the coast guard.

Directed by Craig Gillespie, the all-star cast includes Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Eric Bana and Holliday Grainger.

Grainger attended the gala at the Ham Yard Hotel to discuss her role as Pine's love interest in the film.

Pine plays US Coast Guard officer Bernie Webber, who took a three-man boat out to the sinking tanker - losing his compass on the way.

Talking to the Press Association, Grainger said: "When I first read the script I was fascinated by the story but I didn't know a lot about the character.

"I didn't feel the pressure of the role until I went to Chatham and met Miriam and Bernie's daughter - she took me on a tour, we went to the lighthouse, and we stood on the 36-500, the actual boat that was in the rescue.

"Hearing her talk about her mum was so helpful for me to find and flesh out the character but also scary because Miriam was hugely loved."

Grainger said playing the strong character of Miriam was something she very much enjoyed.

"She defies the social conventions of the time, she proposes to her boyfriend, she waltzed into his place of work to speak to his boss - which is completely unheard of.

"It was her self assurance and instinct that she has that I really found fascinating and with that comes a vulnerability - that kind of mixture is something you always like to show in a character."

The film opens with the first time Bernie and Miriam set eyes on each other, after falling in love over the phone.

Grainger said it was "amazing" to work with Pine who she said was "very funny".

She added that she has never really liked the idea of going to sea in a storm and that the film has made her think it is "something very dangerous".

"The coast guard will obviously be there to save you, but I would be up for going to sea on a nice calm blue sky day," she said.

Other celebrities at Tuesday night's screening included Made In Chelsea's Lucy Watson, Daniel Portman from Game Of Thrones, as well as Ant Middleton and Matthew Ollerton from the TV series SAS Who Dares Wins.

Former SBS operative Middleton said he could definitely relate to parts of the film.

He said: "There have been many times I have been cold, on a boat and clinging on for dear life."

Three of the four world-record-breaking female rowers who have just completed their journey across the Pacific Ocean also attended the screening.

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