Date of Birth : Feb 2nd 1986
After attending a grammar school in Gravesend, and attending a performance arts course, Arterton trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) on a full government grant. She enjoyed studying at RADA and felt she was open to the processes the teachers put her through. “I was quite chilled, so if I got negative feedback I could deal with it, even if it hurt. It’s good to go from somewhere that’s so intense, and where people are studying you, to a big romp like St Trinian’s.” Gemma graduated from RADA in 2007.
Gemma won her first professional role in Stephen Poliakoff’s Capturing Mary (2007) while she was still at drama school. “On my first-ever day, in front of 50 actors, I had to do this monologue and I was petrified. My legs were shaking under my dress. It broke me in very quickly.” Gemma played Liza in the made for TV movie and appeared among a fine cast including the likes of Maggie Smith and David Walliams. Arterton made her stage debut as Rosaline in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Globe Theatre in London in 2007. Her performance prompted a reviewer for Broadway.com state: “As the smoothest-cheeked and possibly sharpest-tongued of the pursued ladies, Gemma Arterton makes a truly notable stage debut; here’s someone of whom we’ll no doubt be seeing more, not least, I would imagine, as a first-class Beatrice.”
Next Gemma appeared as head girl Kelly in St Trinian’s (2007), a role she gained in competition with Sienna Miller. “I was just gutted when I heard that she really wanted it,” admits Gemma. “I mean… Sienna Miller! I never really thought I was in with a chance anyway, but when her name was bandied about, I felt like throwing in the towel.” Of course, the role went to Gemma in the end, and she was well received for her efforts. “She’s the baddest of them all,” says Gemma of her character. “She’s 17 going on 30.”
Towards the end of 2007, the actress was rumoured to be cast in Quantum of Solace. The following January her agents, ICM, confirmed her involvement with the movie franchise. Arterton will play MI6 Agent Fields along-side Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench, in what is described as a “nice-sized role”. The film was shot in London and is expected to be in cinemas worldwide from November 2008.
Also released in 2008 starring Gemma were the Guy Ritchie movie RocknRolla, comedy 3 and Out (which also starred Mackenzie Crook, Colm Meaney and Imelda Staunton), Jane Austen related mini-series Lost in Austen and a tour de force performance in BBC1’s adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, which she considers the highlight of her career so far.