Also Credited As:Gemma Christina Arterton
|Gemma Christina Arterton on January 12, 1986 in Kent, England, GB|
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Born Gemma Christina Arterton in the town of Gravesend in Kent, England in January of 1986, she was one of two daughters born to her working-class parents. Arterton's early years were marked by procedures to correct several birth defects, including a sixth finger on each hand and an ear that required surgical repair. Despite these setbacks, Arterton and her sister Hannah enjoyed happy childhoods marked by their parents' encouragement to explore their artistic side. Arterton quickly gravitated towards acting and began studying with theater companies.
A theater award in 2004 led to a grant that gained her acceptance at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she specialized in both accents and stage combat. Three years later, she made major inroads towards becoming a professional actress, making her London stage debut in a production of Shakespeare's "Love's Labours Lost" in 2007, while also landing her first on-screen role in "Capturing Mary" (2007), a BBC Two drama which starred Dame Maggie Smith. She beat out Sienna Miller to win her first feature role that same year in "St. Trinian's," which cast her alongside an all-star cast that included Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Lena Hedey and Russell Brand. Arterton played the school's head girl, who gets involved in a wild scheme to help save St. Trinian's from bankruptcy.
Arterton's film career was running at full steam by the following year, with roles in no less that three feature films, including Ritchie's underwhelming "Rocknrolla," and two major TV productions. "Lost in Austen" was a four-part miniseries for ITV which cast her as Elizabeth Bennett, Jane Austen's heroine in "Pride and Prejudice," while BBC One's production of "Tess of the d'Urbevilles" marked her first starring role as the doomed central figure in Thomas Hardy's period drama.
Though Arterton was quickly gaining a name for herself in the British film and television industry, she was still an unknown quantity in the international market. That status immediately changed when she joined the cast of "Quantum of Solace." She won the audition thanks in part to the fact that she shared an agent with Bond himself - Daniel Craig - but her talent and rising status helped her land the role of Agent Fields over 1,500 other hopefuls. Fields' character helped to ground the new film in the long-running pantheon of Bond movies with her 1960s inspired hair and fashion, which paid tribute to Diana Rigg's appearance in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1967), among others. Sadly, Fields also follows in the tradition of countless Bond girls by falling deeply in love with 007, only to meet an untimely end shortly after pledging their affection for him. In addition to her role in "Quatum," Arterton was also the face of a tie-in fragrance, Bond Girl 007, from Avon, which was released to coincide with the feature's opening in October of 2008. Arterton was no stranger to print work, having already done several advertisements for Avon prior to the Bond Girl 007 assignment.
The storm of international press that flurried around Arterton as a result of the Bond picture helped bring her to the attention of other producers, and she was soon cast as a princess in need of saving by Jake Gyllenhaal's adventurer in "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," a feature film based on the popular video game series of the same name. She was also part of the sizable international cast in "The Boat that Rocked" (2009), a comedy about the UK's infamous pirate radio stations in the sixties. Richard Curtis of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (1994) and "Notting Hill" (1999) directed a cast that included Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Kenneth Branagh and January Jones.