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.   November 12, 2010

She’s a council estate girl now on the cusp of becoming one of Britain’s best actresses. Here, Gemma Arterton reveals how she’s coping with success, star-struck strangers and her most demanding role yet.

There is a point, towards the end of my interview with British actress Gemma Arterton, where I get the distinct urge to lunge across the table and hug her. This feeling is rare – and usually reserved for family and friends, might I add – but there’s something about this girl that you can’t help but love.

Of course she’s beautiful, with those perfectly plump lips and brooding brown eyes. And she has clothes to die for – today, it’s skinny jeans with a Mulberry coat and scarf that were sent to her (“That’s one of the best perks”). But it’s so much more than that.

We meet at the Almeida theatre where she’s currently rehearsing for her role as Hilde Wangel in Ibsen’s The Master Builder. I’m just pushing open the door when she’s there behind me, umbrella in one hand, coffee in the other, and fumbling with her phone simultaneously.
“When you’re training to be an actor, you learn about how to be open and honest. But if you do that in the press, you’re setting yourself up for disaster

Suddenly everything’s on the floor. “SORRY! Sorry! Don’t worry about holding the door open, I’m always carrying too much stuff,” she insists. When I tell her it’s okay, I’m actually here to talk to her, she laughs, gets up and then doesn’t look entirely surprised.

But then that’s hardly surprising either. With four top movies out in 2010 – the lead in Tamara Drewe, a kidnap victim in The Disappearance of Alice Creed, and two Hollywood blockbusters, Prince of Persia and Clash of the Titans – Arterton has done hundreds, if not thousands, of interviews this year.

In fact, besides The Master Builder and her role in the Garrick theatre’s The Little Dog Wagged earlier this year, publicity has made up the majority of her workload over the past 12 months. “That was really hard actually,” she admits, “travelling everywhere, sitting in hotel rooms, talking about films. It’s not what you bargain for when you decide to be an actor.”

But it’s not the fact that I’m interviewing Arterton today that has her less than surprised. Turns out she’s had a few strange encounters at the Almeida door recently. Take yesterday. Until recently, and even though she played agent Strawberry Fields in the 2008 James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, she was still able to make her way around London relatively easily. Now, the paps are trying to follow her home.

So she decided to test out public transport yesterday, taking the tube to rehearsals from her Battersea home instead of the bus. “On the bus, you can sit there and read your book. But on the tube, people really look at you. It was fine though and I got off, walked along Upper Street, and just as I’m walking into the Almeida, this young girl looks at me and literally follows me into the rehearsal space.

“I said ‘Hello?’ And she said ‘Am I looking at Gemma Arterton?’ I said ‘Yes you are’. All she could say was ‘OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD’ and then she walked out again!” she says, laughing her booming laugh. “I forget that people might get a little star struck.”

It’s 17 and 18-year-old girls, she says, that mainly recognise her these days after performances in Prince of Persia and the St Trinian’s movies. But that recognition is set to widen over the next year as Arterton becomes more choosy with her roles – she’s working on a series of independent films in 2011 alongside the Hollywood blockbusters she’s already contractually committed to.

The Master Builder was one such choice. Renowned for its depth, intensity and symbolism, this is an altogether different role and audience for Arterton. “Before I started rehearsals, I was freaking out. I was like ‘I just don’t know what this play is about! How the hell am I supposed to play somebody who’s a cross between an angel and a devil, a troll but at the same time a girl,’” she says, half laughing, half exasperated.

“But it’s just an amazing piece of work. The more we do it, the more fascinated I am. It’s so deep and complex, it’s beyond intellect. It’s definitely beyond my intellect! But it’s great because my brain hasn’t been working in this way for a good two years. It’s been on a more superficial level.”

I’m not entirely convinced about the intellect part. Arterton is so articulate that she could be twice her 24 years. Then again, if practically everything you’ve said from age 21 has appeared in or been blown out of proportion by the press, perhaps that’s the result.

“In two years, I’ve had to learn how to be candid, what to say, what not to say, how to appear, which is weird because, for three years when you’re training, you’re learning about how to be open and honest. But if you do that [in the press], you’re setting yourself up for disaster,” she admits.

But it’s more than just Arterton’s words. She’s also wise after having grown up so fast. Her parents divorced when she was six, and both she and her aspiring actress sister, Hannah Jane, were brought up by her mother on a council estate in Gravesend, Kent. Always theatrical, she attended a girls’ grammar school, then took a performance arts course at The Miskin Theatre in Dartford before attending RADA on a full-time grant. She’s worked consistently since graduating in 2007.

But rather than turning into a stage school brat, the combination of this upbringing, talent and sheer determination (“I can’t abide not doing my best”) has not only turned her into a star, but someone altogether engaging – full of funny anecdotes and hilariously honest.

“I can’t lie,” she admits, while regaling how her Bikram yoga teacher said recently ‘You must get this all the time but you really look like Gemma Arterton’, and the class agreed. “I thought, I can’t let this go on in case they start slagging Gemma Arterton off. Then, when I told them, they didn’t believe me!”

It’s her family and close friends, she says, who help keep her feet on the ground. And her Italian sales manager husband, Stefano Catelli, whom she married in June. “I didn’t think I’d get married ever,” she says, fingering her simple gold band. “And I never thought I’d be settled because I’m kind of a free spirit. But I suppose I needed it because my life has become kind of crazy.”

It also helps that those around her are blasé about her career to the point of not discussing it these days, which is just how Arterton likes it. After the initial excitement of attending movie premieres and film sets, the novelty simply wore off. “They see how mundane it is and that most of the time you’re sitting there waiting to go on. Sometimes they just come for the food!” she laughs.

As a result, things like her celebrity status and perceived success across the pond do not figure high on her priority list. All her ambitions are instead focused on fulfilling her creative potential. “The success in my life is that I’ve got a house, I’ve sort of set myself up as a person, got married and have great friends around me,” she insists. And it takes all my energy not to lunge across the table and hug her for it.

The Master Builder runs at The Almeida from 12 November to 8 January. Call the box office on 020 7359 4404 for more information. Coutts is the principal sponsor of The Almeida for the eighth consecutive year running.

By Barbara Walshe