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  M.   February 08, 2008

Gemma Arterton’s a goddess in Tess’s tale

Calling her a “nature goddess”, the BBC is pursuing girl of the moment Gemma Arterton to star as Thomas Hardy’s earthy heroine Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

The 22-year-old actress is currently shooting the new James Bond film, Quantum Of Solace, on locations in Panama with 007 Daniel Craig. Gemma’s playing the kick-boxing Agent Fields.

The actress, a recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, read for the part of Tess in front of executives from the BBC’s drama production section.

One told me: “She’s unutterably beautiful, but the key thing here is that she’s an actress, not just a face – a real star in the making.”

Indeed, this column wrote about her a year ago when she was still at RADA, before she was cast in St Trinian’s.

She also played Rosaline in director Dominic Dromgoole’s Shakespeare’s Globe production of Love’s Labour’s Lost.

BBC insiders confirmed to me that they are in “serious negotiations” for her to lead the four-hour dramatisation of Tess, which will film late next month in Hardy country in Dorset.

Tess is different from the usual bonnet brigade of TV adaptations in that it’s not about people bowing and scraping.

“It’s more passionate, and the novel was quite daring for its time,” a BBC executive told me.

“It’s not about posh people, it’s about country people, people of the earth. In many ways, Gemma’s a nature goddess, as Tess is herself.

“Also, Gemma’s very down to earth, which is perfectly fine, with all this attention going on around her.”

Tess Of The D’Urbervilles will be screened on BBC1 in September.


Source: Daily Mail