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The Disappearance of Alice Creed: Gemma Arterton

Erstwhile Bond Girl Gemma Arterton shows off a new side as the title character in the twisty and tense British thriller, which played at TFF 2010 and opens this weekend in limited release.

Note: This interview was originally published as part of our coverage of the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.


Gemma Arterton is a classically trained actress, a former Bond girl, and a blockbuster starlet, with Clash of the Titans under her belt and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time coming out in late May. Her bold performance in J Blakeson's 3-person thriller, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, shows a side of her that will surprise and entertain audiences who enjoy a certain type of brutal crime drama. Arterton plays Alice, a young woman who is kidnapped, bound and gagged, and held for ransom by two masked men (Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston) and  in an isolated cabin. Naturally, the two men's seemingly foolproof plans begins to unravel soon after they nab Alice… You'll have to see it to find out what happens next!


Tribeca and Arterton chatted via email about the scariest thing that happened while filming, her upcoming film Tamara Drewe, and her ideal directorial dinner date.


The Disappearance of Alice Creed What attracted you to this story? The story, the director, the other actors...?


Gemma Arterton: Originally, it was the script. I was not familiar with J, as this was his first feature and no other actors were attached when I auditioned. The story was unique, the characters interesting and well formed, and the script was gripping and exciting. I was so impressed with the way J had managed to keep the story so tight and interesting with so few characters and settings. Also, I wanted to challenge myself and play a character that was different to anything else that I had done. What the part required from me scared me, and therefore I found it exciting. This is a really exciting, tight crime thriller—did you look to any other similar films for inspiration?


GA: There are similar films in style, Shallow Grave being one, and any French thriller to be honest. But I don't like to compare myself to anyone, or use any performances to influence my own. I think that J wanted us to bring our own ideas to the film and didn't tell us to watch any films for reference (even though he is a self-confessed film geek and says he used tons of films for reference!). We all just tried to tell the story as honestly as we could. What's the craziest thing that happened while making the film?


GA: As you can imagine, there were many crazy things that happened whilst making this film! But it was probably getting accidentally punched by Eddie Marsan in one of the scenes. He had to repeatedly punch me, and one got too close. He, of course, was mortified. We stopped filming that day as it was a bit much and continued with the rest of the scene the following day. I was so terrified that I was going to be punched again that it actually helped with the scene. It's hard to act terror, but that day I was terrified! What's the biggest thing you learned while making this film?


GA: That trust on set is fundamental to getting a fully committed performance. And, that if I put my mind to it, I can do something that scares me.


The Disappearance of Alice Creed Can you tell me a little bit about Tamara Drewe? It sounds very different than your other roles, especially the big budget movies like Clash and Prince of Persia.


GA: Yes, it's completely modern! There are no SFX creatures or fancy costumes; I wear jeans and use modern language. I play a very contemporary girl with issues that any woman today can identify with. It was quite a challenge actually, as there were no fancy trimmings to hide behind, just the acting. If you could have dinner with any filmmaker (alive or dead), who would it be?


GA: Michael Haneke. What piece of art (book/film/music/what-have-you) are you currently recommending to your friends most often?


GA: I'm recommending John & Jehn, a French band who I describe as a rock 'n' roll Bonnie and Clyde. I'm a little bit behind with the times with films! But I recently bought District 9, which I thought was so clever and moving…. What makes your film a must-see?


GA: It's a tense British thriller, and they don't come along often!


The Disappearance of Alice Creed opens Friday, August 6, in limited release. Find tickets now.


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Watch the first five minutes of the film. It will definitely whet your appetite:



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