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.   September 19, 2010

There is a moment in the film Tamara Drewe when the sultry Gemma Arterton wears a tight red top and a skimpy pair of hotpants. It’s a deeply provocative image that was used on the poster for the film in France.

Her new film project is as intriguing as Arterton herself. In the film, which is a celluloid version of Posy Simmonds’ cult cartoon novel, Arterton plays the eponymous lead, a girl who leaves rural Dorset to seek fame as a journalist, only to return to her childhood home when her mother dies.

Central to the plot is Drewe’s reinvention of herself. As a schoolgirl, she was a dowdy, almost ugly, girl with a huge nose. Arterton had to wear a prosthetic nose and greasy hair. Her return as a beautiful femme fatale was as unexpected as it was electrifying, but through flashbacks we learn that the catalyst for her transformation from caterpillar to butterfly was a nose job that transformed her looks and bolstered her confidence.

There are uncanny echoes of Arterton’s own life in that plot line. Her cleaner mum Sally-Anne and her welder father Barry divorced when she was five, and her mother struggled as a single parent, bringing Arterton and her sister Hannah up on a Gravesend council estate. Things were so tight that as soon as she was able, Arterton helped out by working as a make-up girl at the weekends. It didn’t make for an outgoing, confident personality, and by her own admission she was something of a wallflower.

“I was a loser,” she says. “I was very bookish, very much into amateur dramatics. That’s how I started, which is the geekiest thing ever. I wasn’t really a hit with the guys, either. I was a bit sad and a bit desperate. I still feel like that inside, it’s funny.”

If that seems like an extraordinary description for a 24-year-old actress who has made 11 films in the first three years of her professional life and seems destined for stardom, it’s important to take a look at her early years. Arterton was a diligent, scholarly girl who did well at grammar school but had no idea what she wanted to do when she left. She did so well at a drama course that she was awarded a full grant to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada).

There she toughened up and became the confident woman she is today. She points to her spell as a karaoke hostess in what she says was “a gangster pub” in London as her own personal epiphany. “I had to become really very self-assured very quickly to survive,” she says. “Someone tried to whack me over the head with a crowbar one night because I wouldn’t serve him.

I was 18 and I remember saying, ‘Calm down and get out.’ That was really when I grew up.”

By the time she had finished at Rada she had completed her first paid role in Stephen Poliakoff’s film Capturing Mary, following that with her stage debut as Rosaline in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labours Lost at the Globe Theatre. Her exposure to the big time changed her in a range of subtle ways, but if she had arrived at Rada yearning for the glamour of a red carpet existence, she quickly enjoyed sufficient exposure to the limelight to know that “I just want to be able to walk along the street during the day and not get bothered”.

Arterton has always known her own mind. Yet she has also been prepared to compromise: despite having pledged never to marry after her parents divorced, in June she tied the knot with Daniel Craig’s body double, Italian Stefano Catelli, at a secret ceremony in Spain, citing the doctrine of love at first sight as her get-out clause from her previous antipathy to wedlock.

A young woman with a highly-developed social conscience and a determinedly feminist streak, she nevertheless reckons that “being a sex symbol is pretty cool”, which is handy considering that the two films in which she made her name were vehicles in which she wasn’t cast for her intellectual prowess.

Yet if her success in St Trinian’s, and her breakthrough performance in Bond film Quantum of Solace owed as much to her spectacularly curvy figure as it did to her grey cells, she has gone out of her way to ensure a high quotient of more cerebral and challenging roles.

For every St Trinian’s, Quantum of Solace, Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, there is a corresponding arthouse venture. She even managed to survive the critically-panned Three And Out, a British comedy in which she starred alongside Mackenzie Crook, while The Little Dog Laughed, a stage satire on Hollywood’s attitudes towards homosexuality, garnered her grudging respect.

As she says of her decision to beg for the lead role in the gritty film noir The Disappearance of Alice Creed, which involves her being hooded and strapped to a bed for the majority of the film, forced to urinate in a bucket: “I needed to do it for my own sanity as I was getting lost playing the girlfriend or the wishy-washy role. I needed to do something that was raw. The director didn’t want to see me because he thought, ‘She’s a Bond girl, she’s not going to be able to do the stuff she needs to do’ and that’s exactly why I wanted to see him.”

Arterton has a need to intellectualise everything she does, no matter how mundane. How many actresses, for instance, would ever see a Bond girl as a manifestation of women’s need for empowerment? There are, however, connections between her latest film, the Stephen Frears-directed Tamara Drewe and the role which she says defines her, Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

After all, Posy Simmonds’ graphic novel is loosely based on Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge.

“Hardy was very clever and knew women much better than we even know women, I think. Tess and Tamara Drewe are both out there doing things on their own, but while they are very, very different they are both downtrodden in a way. Tess sort of brings it on herself, but so does Tamara, even if she doesn’t really know why it happens and how she gets there.

“Tamara’s very flawed and that’s what makes her real. She wants to be successful, she wants to be loved, she wants to be beautiful and she’s compromised along the way and is not actually happy inside.”