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  M.   March 28, 2010

Mar 28 2010 Exclusive by John Millar, Sunday Mail

CLASH of the Titans star Gemma Arterton has told how her childhood screen dreams came true when she was cast as an Ancient Greek spirit guide.

She sizzled as sexy agent Strawberry Fields opposite 007 star Daniel Craig in Quantum Of Solace and played it for laughs as head girl in the latest St Trinian’s comedies.

Now the beautiful 24-year-old is teaming up with Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Avatar’s Sam Worthington in a big budget re-make of the 1981 epic.

Gemma says it is the role of a lifetime because the original film – which starred Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith and Harry Hamlin – was a favourite of her schooldays.

She said: “When I was a kid I must have watched Clash Of The Titans on video about 50 times.

“I saw it so often with my sister Hannah that we could actually quote dialogue from the film. I also have to admit that I had a massive crush on Harry Hamlin.”

Gemma and Hannah loved the film so much that they even took on the roles of some of its main characters and acted out sequences.

She said: “I was always Perseus – who was played by Harry Hamlin – but my favourite star in the film was Maggie Smith. I thought she was magnificently stern and strict as the goddess Thetis.

“So it’s funny to think that just a couple of years ago I was at drama school doing Chekhov and never thinking that I would ever be in a version of Clash Of The Titans. It’s been really weird.”

years ago I was at drama school doing Chekhov and never thinking that I would ever be in a version of Clash Of The Titans. It’s been really weird.”

Even before she became captivated by the Clash Of The Even before she became captivated by the Clash Of The Titans, Gemma was a big fan of the legends of Ancient Greece.

She said: “My mother used to read us Greek mythology as bedtime stories so I knew a lot about those old tales and I was always interested in them.”

In the film, Gemma’s character Io helps Perseus (Sam Worthington), who is on a mission to defeat Hades (Ralph Fiennes) before he can seize power from Zeus (Liam Neeson) and unleash hell on Earth.

Much of the filming was done 8000ft up on Mount Teide on Tenerife and Gemma said that was when she became a real action girl for the first time.

She explained: “We were inside a crater in the volcano so the terrain was gravel and every time I fell over I was covered in wounds. But I loved doing my own stunts.”

She was particularly chuffed that when it came to the action stuff she more than held her own with Sam Worthington and Mads Mikkelsen, who plays Draco.

The toughest thing about running about on the volcano was that breathing became difficult, due to the altitude.

She said: “I remember one day when Sam and I could only do an uphill sprint four times because we were so breathless.”

Gemma got a kick out of battling with mythical monsters for the movie.

She said: “I spent 10 days fighting giant scorpions and I loved that because they were about the size of a house.

“We used animatronic scorpions, rather than computer-created things on green screen, so you had a real idea of a humungous claw – the size of a table – reaching out at you.”

Up on Mount Teide, the stars of Clash Of The Titans also had to cope with extremes of temperature.

Gemma said: “It was crazy being dressed in these skimpy outfits because in the morning it was minus 2C.

“Then, as the day went on, it would get up to 27C. So it started off freezing cold and then it got scorching. But I could handle it.”

It’s that sort of can-do attitude which has undoubtedly helped Gemma be cast in two of the year’s big-budget screen fantasies.

After Clash Of The Titans she will be seen in Prince Of Persia, starring alongside Jake Gyllenhaal. Gemma is cast as a princess who tries to help the handsome heir.

She said: “These are both huge, epic, magical films. Although in Price Of Persia – which is inspired by the video game – my character is a lot more feisty and comic than the one I play in Clash Of The Titans.”

Gemma will also soon be seen with Scots star Martin Compston in the gritty kidnap drama The Disappearance Of Alice Creed, where she plays the victim.

Nowadays, she rubs shoulders with Hollywood stars but Gemma could be called the girl from nowhere.

Brought up in Gravesend, Kent, by her mum who worked as a cleaner, she had a workingclass background.

While studying at drama school she earned cash by working in a make-up shop. Now, despite being a relative newcomer, she is very much in demand and admits she feels like pinching herself.

She said: “What has happened is quite extraordinary but I am trying to take it in my stride.”

Clash Of The Titans is released on April 2. The disappearance Of Alice Creed is released on April 30 and Prince Of Persia is released on May 28.