Gemma Arterton interview: Vita & Virginia

“I always want to be working on something and being creative in some way. I go crazy if I don’t have anything planned where I can express myself through my work.”

Blockbuster heroine & indie star Gemma Arterton talks about the iconic women behind project Vita & Virginia, her own career trajectory, and her hopes of moving behind the camera soon…


Q:  Have you been a long-time fan of Virginia Woolf’s work?

ARTERTON:  I wish I could say that I had been a progressive 17-year-old feminist woman that read Virginia Woolf…I came from a background [that wasn’t very academic]. So, it wasn’t until Eileen Atkins handed me the script that I started reading about Virginia and Vita and then I just read everything.

Q:  Did you feel inspired and empowered playing Vita?

ARTERTON:  Playing a woman like Vita is incredibly stimulating and scary.  Both she and Virginia lived very daring lives.  They broke down a lot of barriers about how women should be defined.  They lived how they wanted to and not according to any “damaging absolutes” which is how Virginia Woolf described the way women were supposed to behave.

Q: Several years ago you made a conscious choice to change directions in terms of the kinds of films – a lot of blockbusters – that you were making?

ARTERTON:  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.  I didn’t have that much choice at the beginning and at some point I thought, “These aren’t the kinds of films I want to be doing, I want to be part of different kinds of stories.”

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