Gemma Arterton's Their Finest script echoes her own gender pay struggle
Gemma Arterton says the script for her latest film 'Their Finest' echoes her real-life gender struggle with pay.
The 31-year-old actress stars opposite Love Actually's Bill Nighy and 'The Hunger Games' actor Sam Claflin in the British romantic comedy film, directed by Lone Scherfig.
The film, written by Gaby Chiappe, is based on the British ministry making a propaganda film with the help from Catrin Cole - a female scriptwriter, played by Arterton, who excels in the job despite her husband's disapproval.
Speaking during a Q&A following a screening of 'Their Finest' - as part of the Jimmy Choo Presents HeforShe UN Women National Committee UK Film Series in Partnership with Curzon Cinemas - Arterton acknowledged the film echoes experiences from her own career.
She explained: "I'm not being paid as much as the men. I'm having to ask for a pay rise. But I think ... that's what I like about this film. It nods to all the facts without kind of grabbing it down your throat. This film kind of lets you take that in. And of course, you know, it still is the case that most of the time on the film set it's female make-up artists, costume mistress and script supervisor. And it's quite rare to have a gender-balanced crew. But it's changing, which is really encouraging with the BAFTA rule, which is really good."
BAFTA changed its rules to increase diversity in awards and membership so that it must now show that they have boosted opportunities for ethnic minorities and socially disadvantaged filmmakers.
Arterton admitted working on the set of 'Their Finest' felt different but she described it as "balanced", "pleasant" and "joyful".
She said: "Of course it does (feel different). I mean, if it was the other way round, anyone would be aware of the fact that there are only men on the set. Personally, for me, I just felt quite at ease. And it's not about loving being a woman, it just felt balanced on set. It just did feel like not an issue at all actually. Most of the film is very... it's about women really. So it was a pleasant and joyful set to be on. For men also because it felt very balanced."
Arterton had her breakthrough role in 2008 when she played Bond Girl Strawberry Fields in James Bond's 'Quantum of Solace'. The role won her an Empire Award for Best Newcomer but she admitted it was five years into her acting career before she ever questioned what kind of actress she wanted to be.
Despite this, Arterton says that being a film producer is helping her to express herself better.
She explained: "In the beginning, it just kind of happened. And then about, sort of five years in, I had to stop and go: What do I want to say? Because I didn't feel like I was saying anything. And now I think I'm starting to... it's like I had two parts, and this is the second and interesting part. I start making films as a producer as well and that's very exciting. I feel like from now I'm able to express myself better."
Arterton has also starred in fantasy films 'Clash of the Titans' (2010), 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time' (2010), 'Byzantium' (2013) and played the character 'Gretel in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters' (2013).