TIME OUT LONDON – ‘Films stick with you,’ Gemma Arterton stresses, as she leans across the desk of a central London office. ‘They’re with you for your whole career so you really have to know why you did them.’ The 31-year-old actress is dressed top-to-toe in tomato today. It’s the kind of ‘fuck you’ outfit you wear to meet an ex for dinner, so it’s no surprise that she’s ready to speak her mind.
She’s here to talk to me about her new movie ‘Their Finest’, a feminist-angled romance set during WWII. She plays a writer who enters the movie business to write romantic ‘slop’ for propaganda films. Her character Catrin Cole is based on a real woman, Diana Morgan, who wrote for Ealing Studios at the time. Cole flourishes once she’s given the opportunity to flex her talent. It’s certainly reflective of Arterton’s own journey.
A few years ago you probably knew the Kent-born actress as a Bond girl. She spent her early career getting cast in arm-candy roles, which she says she took because she was ‘grateful’ for the opportunities. Now, she’s an accomplished stage actress and a film and TV producer, having started her own production company with two female friends. And she’s not afraid to dish the industry dirt…
What was it that drew you to ‘Their Finest’?
‘I loved the period. The war gave so many opportunities to women but it was also a very bizarre time to be in London. I didn’t know about propaganda filmmaking or the roles women played in it. I thought it was really fascinating.’
It’s a bit of an untold take on the wartime story, isn’t it?
‘Yes. Usually we tell stories of the battlefield or what was happening in Germany. We don’t really talk about what was happening at home, but as well as being a time of pressure and loss, it was a great time for women finding out about themselves. They were being called into munitions factories and driving buses.’
The film has a very feminist message; you’ve become more outspoken about your politics in recent years too – how’s that been?
‘When I first started talking about being a woman in the industry I got into trouble. Not many people were speaking out like they are now. Now everyone talks about it. It’s brilliant. You don’t have to be prim and prissy about it; you can be fun and gross, you can have an intelligent voice and be working-class as well.’
How has the way you’ve chosen roles changed over the years?
‘At first I was just taking what I was given. Now I have a little bit more respect for myself. Especially because I’ve done some really challenging theatre. My film roles should reflect where I am in terms of theatre, which is more complex stuff. I care about what I do so much that now it has to be something I really believe in for me to invest my time.’
– Photoshoots & Portraits > Time Out London (2017)
Gemma looked so beautiful yesterday, April 11 – during the AOL Build Series (UK) interview she did for promoting Their Finest! She wore a ruffled silk chiffon blouse with lace collar and high waist silk satin pants with wide leg from the Blumarine Fall-Winter 2017 collection.
Several photos of her outside the studios – during the interview and a portrait for the Series have now been added to the gallery! Enjoy them and remember to follow the site twitter @GArtertonOnline
– Talk and Radio Shows > 2017 04 11: AOL Build UK – Outside
– Talk and Radio Shows > 2017 04 11: AOL Build UK
– Photoshoots & Portraits > AOL Build Series UK (2017)
Below you can watch her entire interview, where – beside talking about Their Finest – she also tell us something more about her 2 upcoming projects: The Escape and Vita & Virginia. Enjoy!
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES – London, 1940, amid the panic of the Blitz: Copywriter Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) has landed a job scripting women’s dialogue for war films at a British ministry desperate to boost the national spirit, when she’s given a plum piece of advice from a co-worker (Sam Claflin) on writing for female moviegoers.
“Girls don’t want to be the hero,” he declares with chauvinist condescension in “Their Finest,” the new World War II-set period drama from director Lone Scherfig (“An Education”). “They want to be had by the hero.”
It’s a galling line played pitch perfect to rankle audiences through the lens of a more progressive today — even if many inside Hollywood argue that, too often, Hollywood still agrees.
“That’s how it was back then,” Arterton says on a recent afternoon in Los Angeles, shaking her head in faux anger. “And that’s something I like about this film. Catrin comes in [to her new job] and they say, ‘Obviously, we can’t pay you as much as the men’ — and because it’s that period, she just kind of accepts the sexism.”
At least, to start. Based on author Lissa Evans’ 2009 novel “Their Finest Hour and a Half,” “Their Finest” tracks Catrin’s blossoming empowerment as she’s propelled headfirst into the production of a fact-based Technicolor war epic set against the rescue of Dunkirk.
Working her way up from writing the “slop” — the derogatory term male writers used for female dialogue — she finds her voice by writing the film’s female characters into heroes in their own right, and then by protecting them from having their agency erased off the screen by her male colleagues.
Meanwhile, amid the organized chaos of moviemaking with a colorful crew of egotistical actors, anxious ministry producers, a pretentious director and the sexist co-writers who begrudgingly come to respect her talents, Catrin brings her quiet battle home, where her narcissistic artist-husband (Jack Huston) has his own ideas about his wife having a career of her own.
ES MAGAZINE – Gemma Arterton wasn’t among the estimated 100,000 people who took to the streets of London for the Women’s March in January, protesting the inauguration of Donald Trump. Instead the self-described ‘staunch feminist’ was stalking the stage that afternoon as the 15th-century warrior, martyr and feminist icon, Joan of Arc, at the Donmar Warehouse. ‘I did think, “the matinee isn’t until 1.30pm, so I could just go along early in my costume”. How f***ing cool would that have been?’ grins the 31 year-old, who won rave reviews for her performance in George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan. ‘But my first costume was ‘normal Joan’, before she cuts her hair off, before she’s in the armour — and I really wanted to go in my armour.’
We’re sitting in a French café in Brooklyn at the end of a week-long US trip for Arterton. I almost didn’t recognise the Gravesend-born former Bond girl when she first arrived — she chopped off her hair to play Joan, and is sporting a chic pixie crop. ‘I still catch myself in the mirror and go, “oh yeah, I’ve got short hair”,’ she says, giving it a tousle. ‘But when I wear a dress now, I look cool, rather than… pretty.’
The previous night she pulled off both with aplomb in a floor-length paisley number at the New York premiere of her latest film, Their Finest, which opens in the UK this week. Arterton plays Catrin Cole, a softly spoken secretary from Ebbw Vale hired by the Ministry of Information to script propaganda films during the Second World War. Based on a novel by Lissa Evans and directed by Lone Sherfig (who also directed the Oscar-nominated An Education) it has an undeniably feminist flavour. Catrin’s role is writing ‘the slop’ — women’s dialogue — for which, she’s told, she’ll get ‘no screen credit’, and won’t be paid as much as ‘the chaps’. She is based on a real-life Welsh screenwriter, Diana Morgan.
It’s not difficult to draw parallels between wartime propaganda film-making and latter-day Hollywood. While the language on set may be studiously PC now, Arterton has talked in the past about being the lone woman on a film, employed as ‘just the totty’ and ‘a piece of ass’, in big-budget blockbusters such as Prince of Persia and Clash of the Titans. In response, she set up her own production company, Rebel Park, in 2014 ‘to create more opportunities for female directors and female writers.’ In development are currently ‘one comedy, one really mad f***ed-up film, and a TV series’.
(Read the rest of the interview at the source)
Together with the interview, a beautiful new photoshoot of Gemma has been released! She looked ever so great. Check it in our gallery :)
– Photoshoots & Portraits > The Evening Standard (2017)
THE EVENING STANDARD – She set up her own film company after being treated as a “piece of ass” — and Gemma Arterton says producing has given her even greater insight into the way the industry views women.
The actress, who launched her firm Rebel Park in 2014, told ES Magazine: “When you make films about women, you can’t get financing in the same way you would if it was a film about men.”
Referring to the fabled List, which ranks stars according to their bankability in Hollywood, from A+ for the likes of Jennifer Lawrence downwards, she said: “It really exists. I’m like, a C. I know, because I am sitting in the meetings trying to get financing for films that I’m in. And they’re like, ‘We love you, but could you also get… [insert category A actress]?’”
She is now starring in Second World War comedy Their Finest as a copywriter drafted in by the British government to make propaganda films.
Her character, based on Ealing Studios screenwriter Diana Morgan, is dismissed by her male counterparts.
At the first UK screening of the film in London, Arterton said: “It still is the case that the majority of women on a set are confined to be the make-up artists, costume mistress and script supervisor, but it’s changing.”
The actress, who was born in Kent, made her name as a Bond girl in 2008’s Quantum Of Solace.
She said: “For the first seven or eight years of my career, I was doing stuff because I thought I should, or I thought I was lucky to get that part. And I am grateful — it set me up. But it sits really badly with me when I make something I’m not proud of, or doesn’t say what I want to say.”
Of Quantum of Solace, she said: “I really enjoyed it — I was 21, and it was a trip. But would I do it now? No.”
Her next movie is Vita & Virginia, about the relationship between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West. Arterton said: “A film about two women, can you believe it?” (source)
Gemma is featured in the latest issue of Grazia France (March 24-30) with a brand new editorial. HD Digital Scans from the magazine have now been added to the gallery, together with some outtakes from the amazing new photoshoot! Check the gallery and enjoy! :)
Like we already said, Gemma is featured in the Spring 2017 issue of Town & Country UK. The magazine features a beautiful and brand new photoshoot and an article/interview with Gemma. Digital HD scans and outtakes have now been added in our gallery!
Be sure to check them out and remember to follow our site on twitter @GArtertonOnline!