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!

  M.   March 18, 2010

Since her breakthrough as a Bond girl in Quantum of Solace, Gemma Arterton has moved on apace, mixing mega-budget Hollywood with low-cost Isle of Man. Craig McLean meets an actress destined not merely to be remembered as Strawberry Fields for ever.

June 2009, Shepperton Studios, Surrey. On the set of Clash of the Titans, a toga-clad Gemma Arterton is gracefully evoking the aura of a mysterious spiritual guide while clutching a script and an iPhone. She is playing the ‘wise and ethereal’ Io in this big-budget remake of the cult 1981 film based on the myth of Perseus, Zeus’s mortal son who leads a band of warriors to defeat Hades, battling Medusa and the Kraken along the way. She shares the screen with Avatar’s Sam Worthington (as Perseus), Liam Neeson (Zeus), Ralph Fiennes (Hades) and, courtesy of the 85 special-effects and animation teams employed by the director Louis Leterrier, a menagerie of fantastical creatures.

‘I’ve always played quite feisty characters,’ Arterton says. ‘And Io is feisty, but there’s a real subtext going on with her. I was really interested in playing that in contrast to anything I’ve done before. And anyway, Clash of the Titans was my favourite film when I was a kid, so I just really wanted to be involved in it. I would have been a spear-carrier.’

Arterton, 24, has enjoyed a remarkable career since graduating from Rada in 2007. Early roles came in Stephen Poliakoff’s TV film Capturing Mary (a part she filmed while still a student) and the 2007 St Trinian’s remake. But she leapt to public attention when she played Strawberry Fields in 2008’s Quantum of Solace.

It was a small role – one that, naturally, involved a sex scene with Daniel Craig’s 007 – but not a fluffy one: Arterton revealed mettle behind the glamour. In the title role in the BBC’s 2008 production of Tess of the D’Urbervilles she gave an emotive and intuitive performance, offering a brilliant showcase of her raw but confident acting skills.

Eight months after our encounter in Ancient Greece, I meet Arterton again in a modern Chinese restaurant in central London. She is enjoying the calm before the storm. Clash of the Titans will be released next month, swiftly followed by her second blockbuster of 2010, Prince of Persia, in which she plays an all-action priestess opposite Jake Gyllenhaal.

Based on the popular 1990s computer game, Prince of Persia is a $250 million action-adventure epic from Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer behind the all-conquering Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Arterton is the female lead – indeed, the only female. In her audition, the director Mike Newell asked if she could modify her working-class Kent accent and ‘do posh’.

Arterton, whose father is a plater (he has told her that this is a more accurate job description than welder) and whose mother is a cleaner employed in various houses in Gravesend, admits that she was ‘really cheeky’ and replied, ‘Oh, f*** off, it was the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art I went to…’ Her chutzpah won her the part.

She says that she occasionally got ‘lost’ during the six-month Prince of Persia shoot, location filming for which took place in Morocco. ‘I had quite a hard time on the film because it was away from home, my first big-budget movie, a lot of pressure, people pulling you this way and that.’ She was in the gym seven days a week, undertook stunt training, and found herself being filmed by 12 cameras.

Newell, whose cv includes Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Four Weddings and a Funeral, counters that he saw no sign of Arterton ‘losing’ herself during the shoot. ‘I did say to her, “I won’t ever not be there for you. And if you want anything come to me…” But she never did. And people adored her. She’s marvellous looking, but she could act the hind legs off a donkey. She’s sort of a mystery in her own way – this young girl, straight out of drama school, a wonderful new kid on the block.’ Her parents chaperoned her in three-week cycles, ‘and they were just adorable,’ he says. ‘You could see she’s very solidly emotionally rooted.’

After two big-budget fantasy films Arterton was ‘determined to do a play’. And since early February she has been starring in The Little Dog Laughed at the Garrick Theatre in London. ‘Theatre was what I initially did,’ she says of her teenage spells in amateur dramatics and, aged 17, at Dartford’s Miskin Theatre, before she won a full scholarship to Rada. The Little Dog Laughed is a satire on Hollywood’s attitude to homosexuality.

Rupert Friend plays an actor whose agent (Tamsin Greig) encourages him to keep his sexuality secret after he falls in love with a rent boy (Harry Lloyd). Arterton plays the friend and occasional sleeping partner of the rent boy. Arterton had had a couple of other options open to her, but chose The Little Dog Laughed ‘because it says something about the industry I work in that is important to say. And also, it’s not about me being “look at me, look at my performance”, it’s about just being in the play and telling a story.’

The Little Dog Laughed is not the only canny professional left-turn taken by Arterton. In between the two Hollywood features she will be seen in the title role in The Disappearance of Alice Creed, an intense drama shot in a tiny studio in the Isle of Man by a first-time director for the paltry sum of £1 million. Her maverick approach to her career is further underlined by her appearance, again as the lead, in this autumn’s Tamara Drewe, directed by Stephen Frears and based on the newspaper comic strip by Posy Simmonds. ‘She actually looks like the girl in the book,’ Frears says of Arterton. ‘But also, she’s witty and heavenly. And she’s magnetic, for the viewer and the camera – she has that quality in her personality.’

Arterton’s parents divorced when she was five; she has a younger sister, Hannah, who is a musician. It was a ‘functional’ separation. Her new family set-up ‘was just normal’ ultimately. ‘But when I was growing up I remember feeling really abnormal because my mum and dad had split up. But since then it seems that everybody’s mum and dad split up at some point. It’s just harder when you’re younger, because then my mum was a single parent and on benefits. But really, it’s quite normal. She brought us up really well, and very liberally. It’s amazing when I think about it. I mean, you always compare yourself to the kids who have clean carpets and everything’s got doilies underneath it. We never had that – our house was like hippie madness,’ she smiles.

She credits her parents’ work ethic – ‘my dad works six days a week, my mum works no matter what’ – with her own desire to remain busy. ‘I feel very uncomfortable when I’m not working.’

As a teenager she initially thought her future career lay in music. She admits to a teenage past fronting ‘really bad gothic punk bands – singing was my biggest love before anything’. But a role in Alan Ayckbourn’s The Boy Who Fell into a Book while she was at Gravesend Grammar School for Girls marked her out as a talent to watch – she won the best actress prize in a local arts festival.

She was smitten, taking a place on the performance arts course at the Miskin Theatre, although she was still naive as to how one might actually become an actor. The world of West End theatre and films and casting agents felt impossibly distant. ‘Even though it’s only 40 miles away from Gravesend, it was still London, the bright lights,’ she says. ‘My family were never involved in anything like that – they were all grafters.’

It was only after a teacher at the Miskin Theatre explained to her that drama school was how actors were ‘spotted’ that, aged 17, she decided to apply, securing a place at Rada.

Her drama school lessons in the rigours of physical theatre are put to the test in The Disappearance of Alice Creed. Arterton’s character is kidnapped by two ex-convicts. She spends much of the time handcuffed to a bed. She is hooded, forced to urinate in a bucket, stripped. Indignity after indignity is visited upon her character.

Arterton’s representatives counselled against her accepting the role. ‘But I liked how the story progressed,’ Arterton says. ‘I like the relationships, and the story was unique and gripping. Instinctively I wanted to do that. It was a hard part to play. It required a lot of stamina from day one. On day four, I had to do a scene and I cried for about 12 hours that day. To the point where I couldn’t see! “Let’s do another one…” “But I can’t see the camera, I can’t see the actors, I can’t see the gun…” I knew some people would hate Alice Creed and I knew some would love it. But surely that’s why you want to do something? You don’t want to people-please all the time. And I think it shows me in a different light to what everybody expected.’

‘I’d seen her in St Trinian’s and the Bond movie,’ says the film’s director, J Blakeson, ‘and you couldn’t tell from those whether she was right for the role of Alice. But then I saw her in Tess of the D’Urbervilles and she had a lot of hard work to do in that. She was the first actress who came in and read for the part and she had such a feistiness that she was perfect. Alice is a victim. But it’s also very important that she had this fightback spirit. She has that behind her eyes. Gemma has that toughness in herself. She doesn’t need protecting.’

As much is evident in Arterton’s candid account of her dealings with a much-reported remake of Wuthering Heights. Having at first agreed to play Cathy, she pulled out. ‘I felt the wind went out of the sails a bit. I just didn’t like the direction it was going in. It became a bit teenybopper.’ Then she heard that Andrea Arnold, the director of Fish Tank, was taking the helm. Arterton did a quick volte-face. ‘I don’t care if it’s rubbish, I just want to work with Andrea,’ she says, adding that she prefers edgy directors such as Lars von Trier, Michael Haneke and Arnold. ‘I’m not really into the blockbuster side, but that’s the side I’ve ended up doing. I never go to see those films.’

Arterton and Arnold met over a cup of tea and bonded over their home towns; Arnold is from Dartford, which is near Gravesend. ‘But Andrea sent me an email yesterday saying that she’s going for a 16-year-old – probably pure Yorkshire lass.’ Arterton shrugs. She was desperate to play Cathy, but ‘I’d rather the right person be in it than me be a little bit shit… I know she’ll probably make the best Wuthering Heights movie. I love her. I think she’s amazing.’

In any case, it has all worked out. Arterton is now available to take a part in a film she first secured almost three years ago but which is only now being made. The day after she finishes in The Little Dog Laughed next month she flies to Canada to film The Diary with the Danish director Bille August. She plays a widow during the Second World War. ‘It’s the first woman I’m playing, not a girl,’ she says excitedly. ‘She’s sophisticated.’

‘Gemma’s very broadly talented – she doesn’t want to get stuck in any one kind of work,’ Mike Newell offers. ‘I think she’s choosing very well and carefully. And she’s getting a big, broad spectrum of work. And also she gets films made now. The people who fund film in the Isle of Man are not going to feel bad about employing the girl from a big tentpole Bruckheimer movie.’

For Arterton, such leverage and room for artistic manoeuvre are paramount. ‘When you play a Bond girl, that’s what you will always be, for ever and ever. And that’s fair enough. But you want to say, no, I can do other stuff. It’s about showing different facets. Now, because I’ve done these [big] movies, I’ve got more leeway and I can get those other jobs. Whereas before I couldn’t because nobody knew who I was.’

‘Clash of the Titans’ is released on April 2,’The Disappearance of Alice Creed’ on April 30