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18th of July 2018

Entertainment



Gemma Arterton's 'intense' Escape nearly ends in disaster

IFC FILMS/YouTube

The Escape open in select New Zealand cinemas on July 5.

Gemma Arterton admits she got so caught up making her latest movie she almost accidentally leapt off a bridge.

The 32-year-old former Bond girl and Their Finest actor says making The Escape was an "intense experience" that saw her nearly cause chaos in Paris.

"We were shooting in the Place de la Concorde and because of the nature of the shoot it was just me breathing heavily for 25 minutes," she recalls, speaking to Stuff and other journalists shortly after the movie had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last September.

"I got in a such a state that at one point I climbed on a bridge and stood up and somebody got out of a car and went, 'whoa, whoa, whoa', and I didn't hear them. I also ran into the road and nearly caused an accident. I don't know, I got into it a bit much."

Gemma Arterton hopes her new film The Escape connects to audiences "on a personal level".

Gemma Arterton hopes her new film The Escape connects to audiences "on a personal level".

READ MORE:* Gemma Arterton shares 'traumatic' experience of being body-shamed on set* Bewitched by beauty: Gemma Arterton as Gemma Bovery​* Actress fat-shamed by male co-star at 15* Bond girl slams 'piece of ass' industry

Arterton's French frenzy was the culmination of three weeks of playing mother-of-two Tara Ashworth. An unflinching and uncomfortable look at modern relationships and parenting, Dominic Savage's movie follows Tara as she struggles to find a way out of feeling increasingly isolated from her children, husband and the world. While the actress hasn't experienced the ups and downs of motherhood yet, Savage found a particular way to help her identify with the character and make things as realistic as possible,

"We filmed in my old home town of Gravesend. I even moved back there for the shoot. We filmed at the shopping centre I used to go to every Saturday while growing up and even filmed a scene in my Mum's back garden."

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And if Savage had had his way, the house Arterton grew up in could have played an even bigger part in the movie.

"We had to put a lookbook together for the financiers, so we did all these photographs there, but my Mum and I just felt it was a little too odd. It does affect you to be in a place that is so personal. All those nostalgic memories make you feel vulnerable, because you remember being a kid there. It made the project very personal to me, even if I didn't relate to what she's [Tara] going through."

In the end, Savage decided to distribute leaflets around the houses in a nearby cul de sac he thought would be perfect, asking if they could borrow their house to film the movie. When he heard from a willing couple, he then discovered they had two children around the right age to play Arterton's character's daughters and so naturally asked, "can we borrow them?"

Gemma Arterton has admitted she got a little too into her role while filming The Escape in Paris.

Gemma Arterton has admitted she got a little too into her role while filming The Escape in Paris.

"I don't think they knew what they were letting themselves in for," recalls Arterton. "I would explain the story to Kate [the wife] and I think it was hard for them, because it was sort of their life. They are a happy couple and they love each other and she's enjoys being a mother and a housewife, but I wonder how much they thought we borrowing from their life because, even for the way I dressed, we copied her."

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She admits she also found working with the two youngsters, "really really challenging".

"Usually I'm quite playful, but with this I couldn't do that because it wasn't my role. By the end of the shoot, they hated me, really hated me. As much as I would say, 'oh, it's pretend', they didn't really understand because they were only four and three and their experience of me was this sad person who, whenever I came around, they had to do things they didn't want to do like hold my hand. It was weird, but it helped me get into a depressed state."

While the children hired to play the kids in The Escape enjoyed working with Dominic Cooper, they were more wary of ...

While the children hired to play the kids in The Escape enjoyed working with Dominic Cooper, they were more wary of Gemma Arterton, the actress says.

The experience though hasn't but her off having children of her own – one day.

"Kids are definitely on the agenda," Arterton, who is currently dating fellow actor Rory Keenan (Peaky Blinders), says. "However, I've no idea how I'll manage, because as an actor everything revolves around your schedule. I don't know how actors with kids do it. I've always thought when I have kids I'll slow down and I'm actually doing less work these days anyway. My current situation is much more equal and balance in terms of sharing the load and while my job is very intense when I am working, the rest of the time it's just meetings and sitting around calling up people."

She hopes The Escape connects to audiences on a personal level and not just with women.

Gemma Arterton stars opposite Dominic Coopert in The Escape.

Gemma Arterton stars opposite Dominic Coopert in The Escape.

"I think everyone in their life at some point goes through a break-up or a relationship that goes wrong, or has known somebody that has suffered with depression."

However, Arterton says, talking about one's life and problems is, "not so much of a thing in England, especially for men".

"A lot of men don't communicate their vulnerabilities. I think it's a huge problem in society generally."

Opening up and revealing that her own mother and father were the first parents she knew to divorce, Arterton says she had to call on her own nascent acting skills from a young age. "They said, don't tell anyone at school – so I had to pretend they were still together."

A young woman who subsequently became a Royal Academy of Dramatic Art graduate (leaving school at 16 to attend to attend an arts college), making The Escape had ultimately left Arterton reflecting on what might have happened if she'd stayed in Gravesend and married her childhood sweetheart.

"I thought to myself, 'wow.,,where I would be?' I think I would have descended into a pretty dark place. I'm a naturally inquisitive person and I like different cultures and travelling and being inspired by things."

The Escape (M) opens in select cinemas nationwide from July 5.

 - Stuff

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