Why Polly From The King’s Man Looks So Familiar
When the movie “The King’s Man” is brought up, many people’s first reaction is: “Hasn’t that movie come out yet?”
According to CBR, the original release date was November 15, 2019, which would’ve put its release two years after “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.” But, because of the merger between Disney and Fox that happened in March of 2019, “The King’s Man” was one of the many Fox films that saw a delay. Then the COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on all of Hollywood, and before long “The King’s Man” was looking at a tentative release of February 12, 2021. But as bigger budget films began getting release dates for 2021, Fox finally decided on December 22.
Just because a film has been delayed doesn’t mean the actors involved in it are just sitting around, waiting for its release. No actor is as much of an example of this as the one who portrays Polly in “The King’s Man,” who has filmed — or is in the process of filming — multiple films and television series roles since working on “The King’s Man” (per IMDb). Gemma Arterton is a prolific actress who, chances are, you’ve seen in at least one of the many, many projects she’s participated in.
Gemma Arterton was the head girl in St. Trinian's
After a small role in the TV movie “Capturing Mary” (via IMDb), Gemma Arterton’s breakout role was as the outgoing and clever head girl, Kelly, in the British comedy “St. Trinian’s.” The film centers around Annabelle, a new student at the titular school who has trouble fitting in, until Kelly and the other girls give her a makeover and assure her that everyone belongs at St. Trinian’s. When they discover their school is in debt and at risk of closure, Kelly and Annabelle scheme together to figure out a plan to come up with the money they need to save their school.
The film starred Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Lena Headey, and Russell Brand. Despite only having one small film credit to her name, Arterton was given a sizable role in the rebooted franchise. She had competition for the role, and was sure that she’d lost it when she heard well-known actress Sienna Miller wanted the part. “I was just gutted when I heard that she really wanted it,” Arterton told the Daily Mail. “I mean .. . Sienna Miller! I never really thought I was in with a chance anyway, but when her name was bandied about, I felt like throwing in the towel.” Luck was on Arterton’s side, and after getting the part in “St. Trinian’s,” her career immediately began to take off.
She had a small part in RocknRolla
A year later, Gemma Arterton was cast in the hotly anticipated Guy Ritchie gangster film, “RocknRolla.” Starring Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Gerard Butler, and Thandiwe Newton, the film was a who’s who of the hottest new crop of actors. The film got mixed reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but has a positive 60% rating.
Jeremy Piven played Roman, and Ludacris played Mickey, two music executives who find themselves dealing with mobsters when it turns out one of the bands they were working with was deeply connected to a mob boss. Arterton had a small role as June, Roman and Mickey’s assistant.
June was a bubbly but nervous young woman, who wasn’t sure quite how she was supposed to react when the mobsters forced their way past her to talk to her bosses. At one point, Lenny (Tom Wilkinson) is eating a lychee, and remarks that it’s “tasty and exotic, kind of like your June,” and all she can do is laugh nervously and say “thanks!”
She worked with James Bond in Quantum of Solace
“Quantum of Solace” was one of the most poorly received Bond films, and is often rated extremely low when people list their favorite Bond films. It’s also probably most remembered for the scene of a nude Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton) drowned and dripping in crude oil. The scene was an homage to Shirley Eaton, who played Bond girl Jill Masterson in “Goldfinger,” in which she was killed and her entire body was covered in gold paint (via Sunday Tribune).
When Arterton received the role, she was overjoyed. She recalled in an interview with IGN that she had gone “to two auditions. I was in a play at the Globe in London and the casting directors came to see me in it. I was playing a very [Bond] girly type of role, but Shakespeare,” Arterton said. “It was Rosaline in Love’s Labour’s Lost, and she’s very haughty and sharp. They asked me in for an audition, which I never thought I’d get. Then I got a second audition where I met the director and everyone, then I had a screen test which was petrifying, then I got the part.”
After the Me Too movement began to bring the sexism of Hollywood to the forefront, Arterton has said in interviews that, while she will always be grateful she was cast in the role, she would change her character’s arc so that she did not sleep with Bond (via People).
She was royalty in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Gemma Arteron’s next major film was “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” in which she had top billing along with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ben Kingsley. The action film was set in the desert, with filming in Morocco (per The San Diego Union-Tribune). She plays a fierce princess who teams up with a rival prince to stop a villain intent on destroying the world. Her favorite part about the film was “all the action stuff. I should have really been a stunt woman,” she told IGN in an interview. “I’ve really [enjoyed] it, even though there are people that are trained to do this and they’re trained to get battered and bruised, but I’ve loved doing all of that and the fighting.”
The film is based on a video game of the same name, and while its $200 million budget meant that it was spectacular to look at, it may not have had the most substance in its storyline (via The Hollywood Reporter). In the end it didn’t quite generate the new franchise Disney had been hoping for, and went on to receive quite a bit of backlash for hiring Gyllenhaal in a role that should’ve been cast as a person of Middle Eastern descent (via The Atlantic).
She fought monsters in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
“Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is exactly what you’d expect, given the title. It’s an action horror film, in which the “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” siblings have grown up and become witch hunters for hire. Early news of the film had Jeremy Renner and Noomi Rapace starring as the sibling duo, but Arterton ended up getting the role instead of Rapace (via Entertainment Weekly). The film has a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but many fans of the horror genre think critics just missed the inherent silly humor of the film, and took it too seriously (via The Hollywood Reporter).
Clocking in at 90 minutes, “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” quickly gets to the gory violence that the audience is there to see, with some tongue-in-cheek dark humor thrown in along the way. Produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, it’s meant to be just a bloody good time for horror fans, with a lot of action and decent acting along the way (via Yahoo Entertainment).
She was in the war drama Their Finest
The wartime drama “Their Finest” is Gemma Arterton’s highest rated film, according to Rotten Tomatoes, with a score of 90%. Based during World War II, the film is about a married woman and a cynical screenwriter working on a propaganda film together while the Blitz occurs all around them in England, and dealing with their growing attraction. Co-starring Sam Claflin and directed by Lone Scherfig, who also wrote the critically acclaimed “An Education,” the film pulls on your emotions, and as one reviewer put it, “is sure to melt the most cynical of hearts” (via Jumpcut Online).
Based on the novel “Their Finest Hour and a Half” by Lissa Evans (per Variety), screenplay writer Gaby Chiappe was nominated by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and the British Independent Film Awards for her screenplay, and for best debut screenwriter (via IMDb). Arterton was nominated Best Actress by the UK National Film Awards, as also noted by IMDb.
Gemma Arterton stunned in The Escape
“The Escape” is a unique film, in that the entire thing was improvised. The first 30 minutes is mostly silent, with a few words here and there. “What happened was that Dominic Savage wrote this 30-page treatment of the general feel of the story scene-by-scene, but there’s no dialogue,” Gemma Arterton explained in an interview with EW. “It was like a description of each scene, but when you get on set that could change, depending on where it went with the actors. I loved it because it means that you have to go really deep, and it felt like I was really inhabiting the character in a really personal way — but it’s scary too because you have to really trust everybody on set.”
The film never mentions the words mental illness or depression, but it’s clear that Arterton’s character, Tara, is going through some sort of inner turmoil. She buys a one-way ticket to Paris, leaving behind her husband and two children. Arterton was also an executive producer of the film, and hoped that the film would help start more honest conversations about depression and mental illness (via EW). Arterton was nominated for Best Actress by both the UK National Film Awards and the British Independent Film Awards for her role (via IMDb).
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.