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A TIGHT red top and a tiny pair of hotpants gave gorgeous Gemma Arterton her sexiest entrance since she was a Bond girl.

It’s an unforgettable moment in her new film Tamara Drewe – and has even been used on the movie’s poster.

The film has only been released in France but is already a huge hit.

But Gemma, who starred alongside 007 Daniel Craig in Quantum Of Solace, says she’ll remember the sexy scene as one of her most uncomfortable.

“I’m such a prude,” laughs Britain’s rising star.

“Did I choose those shorts? Oh yeah – I begged the director. I said, ‘Please can you make them the shortest, most uncomfortable shorts ever!’

The denim hotpants are a key part of the film, she admits.

Gemma, 24, plays the title character in the film, a beautiful young journalist who returns to her West Country roots and causes chaos.

After she turns up to a local shindig in her skimpy shorts, she becomes the centre of attention, lusted after by men and envied by local women.

Gemma says: “The hotpants were part of the original book and I had to wear them for the punchline of the scene to work”.

And according to Gemma, it was the movie’s director, Stephen Frears, who was determined to show off a little cheek.

The brunette star recalls: “We had a screen test where I wore different styles of shorts for Stephen. Each time, he went – shorter, shorter!”

She jokes: “We’ll be auctioning them for charity at the end of the year.”

But it wasn’t all glamour for the stunning actress, because the film flashes back to her awkward teenage years when Tamara had a bad haircut – and a large, beaky nose.

She laughs: “I have a prosthetic nose. They put a nose on me and gave me a dodgy wig and an awful school uniform. It’s a black comedy.

“My husband gets freaked out when he sees that picture of me from the film.”

It’s been a busy year for Gemma. Earlier this summer, she starred in the action fantasies Prince Of Persia and Clash Of The Titans as well as the thriller The Disappearance Of Alice Creed alongside Scots star Martin Compston.

She also did a stint onstage in London’s West End – and somehow found the time to marry fiance Stefano Catelli in a hilltop ceremony in Spain’s Andalucia in June.

The actress wore a fitted white gown for her big day. But with a schedule as busy as Gemma’s, she admits she didn’t have time to set up the wedding herself.

She says: “We had a wedding planner – it was the only way, as I’m really, really disorganised.” And among the hectic hurly-burly of films and premieres this year, it was the wedding that kept her going

“It was a shining light at the end of all that work,” admits Gemma, who had been engaged to Italian fashion sales manager Stefano for a year after he popped the question at last year’s Download festival.

She says: “It was the best day of my life, for sure. Absolutely thrilling.

“I’ve long been someone who didn’t see the point of marriage, but now that I’m in that situation, I kind of understand it a bit more.”

Gemma turned down work so she could have some proper honeymoon time with her new husband.

But now she’s back in the publicity whirl for Tamara Drewe, which premieres in North America at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Sometimes the down-to-earth star struggles with her new fame and admits she doesn’t enjoy walking up the red carpet at premieres.

“It’s part of the job but I’d rather not do it,” she admits.

Instead the shy star tries to live a normal life in London. However, like Tamara Drewe, when she goes home to Gravesend in Kent she attracts a lot of attention.

“If I go into a restaurant there, people recognise me, whereas in London they don’t really notice,” admits the actress, who says new husband Stefano is very protective of her when they are out in public

“He’s my bodyguard,” she jokes. “When he’s around no-one dares approach me.

“Unlike Tamara, I hide in the toilets. She puts on hotpants!”

Gemma’s rapid rise to stardom began when she left drama school three years ago.

She played head girl Kelly in the film St Trinian’s and turned a lot of heads by beating out more than 1000 candidates for the role of Strawberry Fields in 2008′s Quantum Of Solace.

She also showed up as Elizabeth Bennet in the ITV series Lost In Austen, and played Tess in the TV series Tess Of The D’Urbervilles.

She followed this up with cameos in Guy Ritchie’s crime thriller RocknRolla and the Richard Curtis comedy The Boat That Rocked.

But 2010 has been her banner year with appearances in Hollywood blockbusters such as Prince of Persia. Already she’s been lined up for a sequel to Clash Of The Titans.

But not everyone in the film industry has cottoned on to Gemma as a hot property.

When she landed the role opposite hunk Craig in Quantum Of Solace, some fans raged that she wasn’t their idea of a Bond beauty.

She recalls: “James Bond is such a massive deal, and there hadn’t been a Bond girl in a while, so it was an even bigger deal. I got letters saying I wasn’t hot enough.”

But Gemma took the insult in her stride and even gave it a positive spin.

She says: “I took it to mean that maybe I was too serious an actress for them. In a way, I understand how they felt.

“When they cast me in Prince Of Persia, my first thought was, ‘Why didn’t they cast Natalie Portman or Freida Pinto?’ These are the kinds of beautiful actresses who should get these roles.”

Maybe they didn’t wear the right kind of hotpants.

Tamara Drewe is released on September 10.

Aug 30 2010 By Siobhan Synnot

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