Actress Gemma Arterton discusses her latest role in the Jerry Bruckheimer produced film based on the popular video game
In a very short amount of time, twenty-four year old British actress Gemma Arterton has mad a very big name for herself by starring in three very big, high profile Hollywood films. She first gained attention for her role as MI6 agent Strawberry Fields opposite Daniel Craig's James Bond in Quantum of Solace. Then, earlier this year she appeared in Clash of the Titans, the extremely successful remake of the classic '80s mythology film, starring opposite Sam Worthington. Now the actress returns for another huge blockbuster film as she takes on the role of Princess Tamina opposite Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal in Jerry Bruckheimer's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which is based on the beloved video game and opens in theaters of May 28th. In the film, Arterton's Tamina must join forces with Gyllenhaal's Dastan in order to protect "The Dagger Of Time," a magical weapon that has the power to reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world, from falling into the hands of the evil Nizam played by Ben Kingsley. We recently had a chance to speak with Gemma Arterton about the new film, working with the cast, her training for the role and her brief but illustrious career. Here is what the talented young actress had to say:
To begin with, how would you compare the experience of working on this film with the experience of working on some of your previous films like "Quantum Of Solace" or "Clash Of The Titans?"
Gemma Arterton: Well, they're very, very different films. I'd done the Bond film before I started Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and I was only in it for a small amount of time. I didn't actually see how huge it could be to be in a movie like that. But this was even bigger, I think, and with a fantasy movie you have all these huge sets and the landscapes were much more epic. It was the first time I really felt like I was in a massive, massive movie. Then I did Clash of the Titans afterwards, which even though it was a big movie did feel like it was small in comparison. So this was for me a really big deal because I was the only girl in the movie as well, so it was pretty immense.
As a follow up to that, what was it like being essentially the only woman in the film?
Gemma Arterton: I mean you kind of get used to being the only girl, or one of two, and usually the girls don't work with each other in these sort of movies, so you just get used to it and you kind of muck in. But yeah, I was intimidated especially because the guys around me were such legendary actors like Sir Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina, and then of course Jake. Then all the guys on set surround you so you can either be a sort of shrinking violet or you can be like me and just charge your way through.
Did you ever imagine that at the young age of twenty-four you would have reached the level in your career that you have and what do you think is next for you to accomplish as an actress?
Gemma Arterton: I never imagined myself even in a film, let alone in a movie like this. I always thought I'd do theatre. So my career has taken me by surprise, completely taken me by surprise. So now that I've made some really, really big movies, I'm trying to make small movies as well and theatre. I'm in a really lucky position where I'm getting sent really cool scripts so I just want to be really selective and do something that you completely wouldn't expect.
Clearly your character and Dastan do not meet eye to eye at first but eventually she comes to see him differently than she does in the beginning, can you talk about the journey that they go on together and the moment when she realized that Dastan is different than she thought?
Gemma Arterton: Yeah so at the beginning I'm captured by the Persians, I don't really like them and Jake's character, Dastan, is one of those. So she's quite snooty at the beginning and very, very regal. Then as the film develops she sort of wears him down and then realizes that there's a lot more to him. I think it's when she sees him mourn his father, I suppose, that's when she really sees that there's something else going on. I think they play an important role in each other's sort of development. I suppose she sort of makes him realize his inner self and he kind of softens her in a way or opens her up and takes the strings out of her bow a little bit.
What was it like working on such a physically demanding film shoot in Morocco with temperatures as high as one hundred and twenty degrees, how did you deal with those severe weather conditions?
Gemma Arterton: Yeah it was pretty hot but being from London you don't really get that sort of weather ever so we kind of loved it. I loved it. Any Brit was probably just basking in the sun. It was pretty full on. You know, as an actor you don't really have to sit out in the sun for very long, there's always someone there with an umbrella. I call them "brolly bitches" and you get fed and watered. But it was pretty full on and the rest of the crew was out there all day long, so I got a nice tan.
How intense was the training that you had to do for this film? Was there a lot of fight training and choreography that you had to learn for the film?
Gemma Arterton: Yeah, I didn't have to go through as much as Jake and some of the other guys but I still had quite a lot to do. More than anything I had to train in the gym just to get my stamina up because it was pretty full on out there and I needed to be able to get through the day without collapsing. So I was in the gym six days a week and then we went through a fighting boot camp where we learned how to fight and that was pretty fun. I always saw myself as a little bit of a stunt girl, but never had the opportunity to do it. So I got to do a lot of my own stunts and that was really cool as well.
Finally, if you had "The Dagger Of Time" and had the ability to travel back in time, where would you go and what would you change?
Gemma Arterton: I wouldn't change a thing in my own life, but I'd like to go back in time anyway though, just to some eras that I wish I'd lived in, like the '60s. I'd love to have been in London in the '60s, partying away.