Welcome to Gemma Arterton Online, your best and oldest source for the english rose Gemma Arterton. We strive to provide you with news, photos, in-depth information, media, fun stuff and much more on our favorite British star! Gemma is most known for her roles in: St. Trinian's, Quantum of Solace, Prince of Persia and Clash of the Titans. Her upcoming films are Vita & Virginia, My Zoe and Summerland. If you have any questions, concerns or comments, then do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We hope you enjoy the site and come back often!

  Mycah   August 30, 2008

“Oh my God, I have been told that I’m hideous, not to Bond-girl standard, that the only reason I’m working is because I must be shagging someone in the industry . . . I’ve read that everywhere. At first, I was like, ‘I’m an actress, I went to drama school, I did theatre, I’m serious.’ And then you go, ‘Ah, it’s some fat t*** with no life who wrote that, so they can sod off.’ I’ll just do my work, which I seem to be getting, and see what happens.”

Arterton is starring in two of the autumn’s biggest bonnet dramas, but gives them a modern edge

Gemma Arterton owns this autumn. First up, she’s playing the lead in BBC1’s mega-budget Hardy adaptation, Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Next, she’s slinking her way through Quantum of Solace as the cool MI6 handler Agent Fields (just don’t mention that she was taller than Daniel Craig when she wore heels). Then she’s punky and sharp-tongued in ITV’s twisted bonnet comedy, Lost in Austen, in which Arterton as Elizabeth Bennet swaps lives with a modern girl played by Jemima Rooper.

With roles in St Trinian’s and Stephen Poliakoff’s Capturing Mary, and a healthy stage career — all by the age of only 22 — you would expect a ripple from the regulars at the Hampstead pub when she glides through the crowd with a mischievous grin on her face. But nobody so much as blinks. And, to be fair, I’m not entirely sure this actually is the woman I’m supposed to meet. In Bond she’s a redhead with milk-white skin; in St Trinian’s she sports a jet-black bob; and as Tess she looks like the healthy daughter of a country farmer. But this woman is dark and sultry, with a pout that would flatten Rachel Weisz.

She laughs when I explain my hesitation. “I’m a Persian princess,” she announces. “So I’m darkened up a little bit.” Jerry Bruckheimer, it transpires, has cast her as the lead in his next Pirates of the Caribbean-style franchise, Prince of Persia. “I never look like myself on screen.”

She was recognised once, however. She was in an Indian restaurant behind Euston station in London with her mother, when a woman asked for a photograph. Arterton asked why. “I thought, ‘Is it an art project, or does she like my top?’ And she said, ‘No, I want a picture of Gemma Arterton.’ And I went, ‘Mum, this is a moment in my life. This has never happened to me before.’ I told the woman, ‘You’re my first.’ Although sometimes people double-take and say, ‘Isn’t it that girl who was in that shit movie?’ ” And she giggles in a way that can only be described as wicked, with echoes of her Gravesend council-estate upbringing in England.

Now things are changing. When she was cast in Bond, the media descended on her parents and grandma, camped outside the house, poked through the letter box. To say her route from the former dock town has been meteoric is like saying the universe is quite big. She enjoyed acting at school, did a course at sixth-form college, won a paid place to Rada and was working on Capturing Mary while still a student. She has barely stopped since. She got Tess having failed an audition for something else so spectacularly, she thought she’d never get called again. But the casting agent phoned the director of Tess, David Blair, to say: “You have to meet Gemma Arterton. She’s Tess.”

Arterton finds this story amazing, but when I ask if she is, in fact, Tess, she laughs. “No — there are similarities, but I’ve got too much of a sense of humour. Poor old Tess doesn’t have much of a laugh. She doesn’t think things through, she just feels them. And I’m like that. I don’t rationalise, I just feel. I suppose if I had been born 150 years ago, it might have been into the same sort of life. There’s a similar background — normal family life, not middle-class. I look after my family. I’ve always been quite a mothering person, and Tess is like that. More than similarities in character, I think there are similarities in the way I operate as a person and the way I think and feel. But I can’t really pin them down. She’s much more restrained and shy and gentle. [She laughs again.] I’m more — abrupt, shall we say.”

She fell in love with Tess as intensely as Hardy, the character’s creator, did. She wept when she read the script and glows when she describes Tess. “She’s simple as you like. She’s a pure, straightforward girl who grows into a woman with simple ideas and simple goals, and that’s really attractive. People come along and chip away at her life, but she still keeps this sense of strength and dignity about doing the right thing for her family, her baby and her love.”

Hardy’s gritty story of an innocent’s downfall could have more powerful echoes for fame-obsessed, post-X Factor Britain than other frock-and-frolic favourites. Indeed, that appears to be the mission for period pieces across the autumn. Tess kicks off a season of gold-plated bonnet dramas that seek to reflect our own shortcomings. ITV’s Lost in Austen sees a modern girl swap places with Elizabeth Bennet — with Bennet played by Arterton. The BBC’s mammoth 15-part Little Dorrit is pitched firmly at credit-crunch culture, while Channel 4’s The Devil’s Whore uses its stellar cast and civil-war setting to explore terrorism, belief and whether freedoms should be sacrificed to preserve them. All, it should be pointed out, sizzle with 21st-century sensuality, and none more so than Tess.

Does Tess’s story have parallels with our times? Her tragedy begins when her father discovers his Durbeyfield surname connects him to the aristocratic d’Urbervilles. From then on, her parents try to pimp the girl out in a bid for cash and status, like pushy theatre mums determined their little one will sup at the bowl of celebrity — celebrity, after all, allows entry to the new fame aristocracy.

Arterton sees the connection. Although her family was of working-class Gravesend stock — her dad a welder, her mother a cleaner — her mother’s side, the Heaps, had always nursed talent. Indeed, Arterton found she could draw on her own relationship with her mother to create Tess’s fraught struggles with Joan. She could also relate to Tess and Angel Clare’s doomed relationship, having fallen in love with unsuitable men herself. She recently split from the animator John Nolan.

What troubled her most, however, was portraying Tess struggling to cope with her rape by Alec d’Urberville. “When I first read the script, I thought, ‘I don’t know if I can do that, because I’ve never been raped and millions have.’ ” She speaks slowly and thoughtfully. “So I started talking to people. I met one woman who said, ‘You want to know how it feels? Dead and desolate. The whole time.’ ”

In the end, to film the long walk home, she prepared by listening to classical music, then took a buttercup and repeated her earliest childhood memory: someone stroking her neck with the soft yellow flower. “If you don’t feel dead and desolate and young and vulnerable doing that scene, the audience is just watching an actor trying to make themselves cry,” she says simply.

Bond was less of a stretch, but she’s hugely grateful to the timing coincidence of Tess, Quantum and Austen. The curse of the Bond girls is all too real, so when she heard she had got Tess while still filming as Agent Field, she literally screamed with joy. “I thought, ‘Now I can show everybody I can act,’ ” she explains. “Although, in Bond, my character’s cool. She’s not a typical Bond girl: she’s funny, and real, and someone you could know from down the road. I’m quite tough — I have to arrest Bond at one point — but I go to bed with him, of course. So it is a good part.” And she looks conspiratorial. “But more than anything, it’s so that my grandkids can say their gran was a Bond girl. They’ll be, like, ‘Look at her now. You’d never know.’ ”

So, how is she preparing for the autumn of Arterton, when the legend her grandchildren will tell is created? “By going to Morocco and escaping from it all — I’m going to be in the depths of the souk. In a hut,” she giggles. “All the reviews will come out and I’ll be in a hut. Because I read every review, I can’t help myself. I’ve read so many bad ones now — people saying such horrible things about me as a person.”

Such as? “Oh my God, I have been told that I’m hideous, not to Bond-girl standard, that the only reason I’m working is because I must be shagging someone in the industry . . . I’ve read that everywhere. At first, I was like \, ‘I’m an actress, I went to drama school, I did theatre, I’m serious.’ And then you go, ‘Ah, it’s some fat t*** with no life who wrote that, so they can sod off.’ I’ll just do my work, which I seem to be getting, and see what happens.”

Interview over, we walk down the busy London main road that leads to the station while she chats about listening to Oasis before going out clubbing — “It was just this big rock’n’roll sing-along that we’d always play before we went out.” Halfway down the hill, she says she has to nip into Tesco to get some milk and steps into the road, which is suddenly completely empty. “See ya later,” she calls.

“At the Oscars,” I joke.

“Yeah,” she turns back and meets my eye with a throaty chuckle. “Dame Gemma.”

Lost in Austen starts on ITV1 on September 3;

Tess of the d’Urbervilles starts on BBC1 on September 14;

Quantum of Solace is released on October 31

Source: Times Online