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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - Gemma Arterton interview

Gemma Arterton in Prince of Persia

Interview by Rob Carnevale

GEMMA Arterton talks about some of the challenges and delights of filming Disney blockbuster Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time as well as how she got along with co-star Jake Gyllenhaal off-set…

Q. Were you at all nervous about doing your first blockbuster of this size? And working with Jake Gyllenhaal?
Gemma Arterton: Yeah, absolutely. It was the biggest role I’ve had to date, at that time. It’s always nerve-wracking doing something where you’re the only female on the film. I felt particularly uncomfortable about that [laughs nervously]. But you get over all of your neuroses pretty quickly because there’s so much work to do. So, it was great and it was a real honour to work with everybody.

Q. What did you learn about being a woman while playing a princess?
Gemma Arterton: I feel I’m quite similar to my character in many ways. I’m not as graceful or tanned! But being strong is actually really attractive and I think that’s one of the reasons why Jake falls for her. Sometimes, I feel that if you’re a strong, independent woman it scares people away, but actually it does the opposite.

Q. How was the physicality of the role for you given the shifting nature of your clothing?
Gemma Arterton: The clothing was quite restrictive. But I didn’t have to jump off walls and things like that. When I did have to do any running around, it was quite loose – but thank goodness because Jake could have got an eye full! It was hot in Morocco!

Q. You mentioned when shooting Clash of the Titans that you had always been interested in Greek mythology – does the same apply to your knowledge of the Arabian nights?
Gemma Arterton: I have to say that it was a whole new subject for me. I was much more familiar with the Greek myths, so that’s why it was really interesting doing this film and looking at all the artwork. It’s very much based in fiction but it’s such an interesting period of time.

Q. Can you tell us about the chemistry and what it was like between you when not shooting? Was there any mickey-taking?
Gemma Arterton: Well, yeah, I took the piss out of Jake and he took the piss out of me [laughs]! It all came into the film as a result. We all take our work very seriously, but I certainly don’t take myself very seriously and I think that Jake’s the same. So, we had fun and you can see that in the film.

Q. Can I invite you to compare and contrast some of the exotic locations on Prince of Persia with some of your more recent ones on Tamara Drewe in Dorset? How invigorating is it to have such diverse films to flit between?
Gemma Arterton: Yes, it’s incredible… that’s one of the best things about this job that you go to all these places that maybe you wouldn’t otherwise have gone to. I always wanted to go to the desert but I don’t think I would have got round to it. So, it’s a real treat. But it was hot [on Persia], which it never is here! Everyone was complaining about the heat out there, but I was quite happy soaking it up [laughs]. It was just beautiful… some of the landscapes there. Also, it’s so diverse in Morocco, where we shot – you have the mountains and the immense desert and sand. It was a brilliant place to be. I had a lot of fun.

Q. How about Dorset?
Gemma Arterton: I love Dorset! Perhaps even more [laughs]. I’m blushing now… but the cinematography in that film makes Dorset look very hot and sunny. But it wasn’t, it rained all the time.

Read our review of Prince of Persia

Jake Gyllenhaal interview