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  Nicole   August 10, 2018

TIME OUT LONDONGemma Arterton bounds down a hotel corridor, fresh but flustered after lunch. ‘I got lipstick on my dress!’ she exclaims. Mindful of scheduled photoshoots, she playfully adopts poses that conceal the offending marks – and then starts our interview feeling bad about returning a slightly soiled dress to the designer. This is Arterton all over: spirited, funny, professional, thoughtful. She tells me that she was always the performer: both she and her sister Hannah have been acting since they were toddlers in Gravesend. ‘There are videos my mum filmed when we were about four and two years old,’ she says. ‘We were acting out Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. I’m like, “DO IT LIKE THIS! YOU HAVE TO DO IT LIKE THIS!” then she does it and I push her out of the way… God, it’s so bad.’ She gives a guilty giggle. ‘I was like, “Me! Look at me!”’

The world soon looked. After training at Rada, the actress landed a plum role in 2007’s ‘St Trinian’s’ before playing Strawberry Fields in ‘The Quantum of Solace’. Then came a couple of surprising picks, with grimy thriller ‘The Disappearance of Alice Creed’ and countryside romp ‘Tamara Drewe’, before she really hit her stride with ‘Byzantium’ and 2016’s ‘The Girl with All the Gifts’. Her latest, ‘The Escape’, is a largely improvised British drama about a woman who has a breakdown and heads to Paris, leaving her husband (Dominic Cooper) and two children behind. ‘It’s a taboo subject,’ says Arterton. ‘You’ve got to be the perfect wife and the perfect mother and so many marriages break down and the husband leaves. When a woman does it, it’s seen as an awful thing: “What’s wrong with her?”’

Arterton is heartbreaking as the unhappy suburban wife, but filming wasn’t without its challenges. ‘We used real children that live in the house we were shooting in – they weren’t actors. They didn’t really understand what was happening, and they actually didn’t like me,’ she says, and this time she’s not laughing. ‘I found that really difficult. I’d walk into the room and the kids would be like, “Oh God, not her!”’

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– Photoshoots & Portraits > Time Out London (2017)