Actor Gemma Arterton once joined the James Bond franchise, co-starring alongside Daniel Craig in 2008’s Quantum of Solace. But after a comment made about the star’s natural accent, she nearly walked away from the movie.
Gemma Arterton was as ‘poor as a church mouse’ when she became a Bond Girl
Arterton beat out several other aspiring Bond girls when she was cast as Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace. She had gotten the role by doing a screen test with Daniel Craig. Although initially, Fields was under the impression that she didn’t get the part.
“Everyone’s eyes are on you and everyone’s whispering and looking. It’s so uncomfortable, but you have to do it because the producers have to see what you look like,” she once said while describing her audition to IGN. “Then I acted a scene with Daniel and it was very brief. He said, ‘Hello, how are you?’ And I said, ‘I’m really scared.’ And he said, ‘Don’t worry.’ We did the scene and he said, ‘Well done.’ And that was it. Then the director Marc Forster said, ‘OK… good luck.’ And I thought, ‘No, I’ve lost it.’ But I didn’t, so that was great.”
Only 21 years old at the time, Arterton was just relieved she was able to make money doing what she loved.
“At the beginning of my career, I was poor as a church mouse and I was happy just to be able to work and earn a living,” she once said in an interview with The Sun.
Although some gave her a hard time for taking the part, Arterton asserted that she needed the work. However, she also had a few criticisms about her role as Fields.
“I still get criticism for accepting Quantum Of Solace, but I was 21, I had a student loan, and you, know, it was a Bond film,” she said. “But as I got older I realised there was so much wrong with Bond women.”
Gemma Arterton almost walked away from ‘Quantum of Solace’ when she was criticized about her accent
Being a Bond girl initially wasn’t easy for the star. Apart from living up to the legacy of other Bond girls before her, Arterton faced a few challenges behind the scenes. At one point, an American film chief warned Arterton that she needed to change her native accent. If she wasn’t able to, she was told that she’d only be cast as a maid in other movies. This rubbed the actor the wrong way, so much so she nearly quit Quantum.
“I said, ‘Hello! I’m playing a Bond girl who works for the British consulate!’ I was so annoyed I nearly walked out… I went through this whole thing of, ‘I’m common compared to all these Oxford graduates. I don’t know anything,'” she once told GQ (via Contact Music).
Her accent also almost cost her the starring role in the Prince of Persia film based on the video game. Because of advice from another filmmaker, Arterton decided to see a voice coach who could help her with her accent.
“I went into this meeting and he went, ‘Oh dear, oh dear. Why do you speak like that?’ And I went, ‘It’s where I’m from.’ He said, ‘Well, you are going to have to sort that out,'” Arterton remembered.
Gemma Arterton once said she would never accept a role like Strawberry Fields again
Her opinion on her Quantum of Solace character had changed over the years. If given the same opportunity, the actor once explained why she wouldn’t pursue a role like the Bond girl Strawberry Fields.
“You know, I haven’t seen it for about 15 years either, so I can’t really remember what’s in it or what I did, but I know I wouldn’t choose a role like that now. Because she was funny and she was sweet, but she didn’t really have anything to do – or a backstory,” she said in a 2015 interview with The Telegraph.