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  M.   May 27, 2010

‘I always sort of saw myself as a bit of a stunt girl,’ she says of getting physical in the Jake Gyllenhaal-starring flick.

By Ryan J. Downey, with reporting by Vanessa White Wolf

From Bond girl to protector of a magical dagger, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” co-star Gemma Arterton is no damsel in distress. Whether it’s “Clash of the Titans” or her latest swords-and-sandals epic, the English actress likes it physical.

“I think it’s quite rare to get [action roles],” she told MTV News. “I mean, guys are always playing soldiers and warriors, [but] there’s not many roles for women like it. I really threw myself into it and did a lot of my own stunts, which I’m really, really proud of. I always sort of saw myself as a bit of a stunt girl anyway. I’m quite reckless. [Laughs.] So I was really pleased when I got offered this role.”

Two sequences in particular really got her blood moving. “There’s a horse-riding one, where I pull myself to the horse from standing while it’s galloping towards me,” she said. “It took me about two weeks to learn how to do that. And it was pretty nerve-racking doing it, because everyone’s watching, and I had to prove that I could do it.”

The other offered an even greater physical challenge. “I roll under [a] closing gate while I’m running. I was petrified that I was actually going to run into the gate,” she said, laughing. “And there’s actual video footage of me going: ‘Did you see that? Did you see that? I did it!’ and everyone going, ‘Uh, yeah, we were all filming it, funnily enough.’ ”

While many scenes in “Price of Persia” — a Disney film based on a popular video game that opens Friday and stars Jake Gyllenhaal as the title character — rely on green screen, the actress pointed out that several sequences utilize real sets as well.

“There was green screen, of course there was, but luckily it wasn’t like we were acting with nothing. I can’t tell you the details of the sets and everything around us. We did have a real sense of what we were doing. Obviously, there are those scenes, like that sand-slide scene, that was all green screen.”

Arterton first rose to prominence as Strawberry Fields in Daniel Craig’s second James Bond flick, “Quantum of Solace.” She appeared earlier this year opposite Sam Worthington in the 3-D remake of “Clash of the Titans.” She will next be seen in the decidedly less action-fueled “Tamara Drewe,” a romantic comedy in which she plays the title character. Fellow “Titans” alum Luke Evans also stars.