The 28-year old British actress makes a successful incursion into French cinema.
“In Paris, I’m less famous and people are more respectful. I can go to the municipal swimming pool in all tranquility.”
– Photo Gallery > Magazine Scans > Scans from 2014 > GQ (France) – October 2014
By Glenn Rice
Made In Dagenham is the West End musical event of the season, and it commences previews at the Adelphi Theatre in just a few weeks on 9 October.
The production is a co-creation of some of the biggest British talents from stage and screen, with a book by Richard Bean of One Man, Two Guvnors, music by James Bond composer David Arnold, lyrics by Jerry Springer The Opera’s Richard Thomas and direction by Rupert Goold.
But the jewel in the show’s crown is its casting coup of Gemma Arterton in the lead role of Rita O’Grady, a shop steward at the Dagenham Ford Motor plant who leads her fellow women workers in a game-changing strike for equal pay in 1968.
I met Gemma when MID launched to the press in June, with some of the ladies from the real-life Ford Dagenham strike the show is based on also in attendance. I published an excerpt from our conversation then, but with curtain-up imminent, now’s the time to present the full text of the interview, in which the Kent-born star talks about Made In Dagenham, stage fright, the dangers of working-class stereotypes, and her other work in London theatre, which includes acclaimed performances in Ibsen’s The Master Builder and Webster’s The Duchess Of Malfi.
Aside from her vaunted acting chops, Arterton is famous for her combination of aristocratic beauty and unaffected, unpretentious girl-next-door attitude. Justly so – she’s lovely in both senses. What gets mentioned less often is the infectious cackle that regularly punctuates the breezy cadences of her speech.
How did you come to be in the show?
I’d seen the film, which I loved, and I thought it was absolutely amazing. It didn’t get as many accolades as it should have, but it was so, so brilliant and it moved me a lot. Then two and-a-half years ago I was making a film called Byzantium in Ireland with [Made In Dagenham producer] Stephen Wooley, and he heard me singing, because I had to sing a bit in it, and caught me off guard by giving me a CD and saying ‘listen to that’.
By Brigitte Baronnet – September 13, 2014
AlloCiné: Gemma Bovery is a film adaptation of Posy Simmonds. Did you take a lot of liberties with the original work?
Anne Fontaine, director: I reinterpreted it for the screen. I would say that the character of Martin, played by Fabrice Luchini, is the one who has evolved the most. I made him more of a lover. In the book, he’s more of a writer, more of a diagnostician so to speak. Gemma’s character is humanly more sensitive, more fragile, more friendly.
There are scenes that are completely made up. The whole ending is made up. The scenes where, for example, he teaches her to knead bread — which are nearly erotic scenes, in an oblique way — are scenes that we created with Pascal Bonitzer, the film’s screenwriter. It’s a mixture. But I think that it’s very faithful to the tone, to the humour, to the English kind of humour actually. It’s a pretty caustic humour.
I read that you had been reluctant to turn to Gemma Arterton for the role…
It’s not that I didn’t want her. I saw her in Tamara Drewe a few years ago. I thought that she was great. But it was the same author: Posy Simmonds. At first, I kind of dismissed her. I told myself: I won’t repeat an actress who has played the same author. And then, I started an audition in England, I’ve seen girls. One day I had lunch with Isabelle Huppert in Paris. I told her about my project and she asked me if I saw Gemma Arterton. I said: it’s funny you’d say that because I’ve been resisting the idea of seeing her. She told me that she saw her in Marrakesh and that she’s an incredible bombshell. When an actress with Isabelle’s talent speaks of another actress… Listening to her, I thought: you’re stupid, you have to see her. And then, it took only one second. She arrived in the office in the UK. She told me: Bonjour Anne. She had a little speech in French. I wanted to see if the French remained sexy and melodic. And then, I couldn’t resist, not even for a second. In fact, I’ve postponed the meeting.
How was the first meeting between Gemma Arterton and Fabrice Luchini?
The first time was at Fabrice’s. I introduced him to Gemma. Soon, after ten minutes, they spoke in a somewhat unstable French-English, since Fabrice doesn’t speak English very well, and that Gemma had just begun to learn French. And Fabrice has a dog, much like in the film, Martin Joubert has a dog. Soon, they almost laid down to to the ground, they caressed the dog, they looked at each other, something very organic, and which prefigures the sensuality that exists in their relationship later in the film, even if it’s of course a platonic relationship.
Interviewed at the Angouleme French-Speaking Film Festival.
Tomorrow (Sunday, September 14th) ITV will bring a slice of traditional British entertainment back to life with the revival of variety show Sunday Night At The Palladium. In the 50s and 60s, acts performing at London’s glamorous Edwardian Palladium theatre, pulled in up to 20 million viewers.
Later in the run, highlights will include an exclusive preview of the forthcoming West End musical Made In Dagenham starring the movie actress, Gemma Arterton.
Added in the gallery, a beautiful portrait InStyle Magazine took of Gemma during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival!
This voluptuous young woman who hails from England has everyone head over heels for her in the role of a new Emma Bovary.
– Photo Gallery > Magazine Scans > Scans from 2014 > Paris Match (France) – September 11-17, 2014