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Why Grace Ballard From Murder Mystery Looks So Familiar

The main draw of 2019 Netflix original film Murder Mystery is undoubtably the superstar comedic duo of Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler. However, the flick's fans will tell you that it's the ensemble of eccentric characters that the pair meet along the way that really puts the film over the top. The European setting means we get slimy aristocrats, blathering colonels, and obnoxious billionaires. One of the most memorable of the bunch is the ultra-confident actress Grace Ballard, played by Gemma Arterton.

Arterton slips so effortlessly into the role of the chic starlet that it might be a bit difficult to put your finger on where you've seen her before; that's the power of a good performance. The British actress' actual career, though, has been marked by projects much more intriguing than the hollow blockbusters that Grace Ballard starred in. For over a decade, Arterton has made a career out of bringing raw skill and a heavy dose of wit to genre films. Let's take a look at some of her most memorable roles to discover just why Grace Ballard from Murder Mystery looks so familiar.

Gemma Arterton was a Bond girl

Many actors spend their entire careers hoping to be cast in a James Bond movie; Arterton, on the other hand, landed the role of Bond girl Strawberry Fields in 2008's Quantum of Solace just a few months out of drama school. The film's producers scouted her for the role while she was starring in Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost in London, and fittingly, her character in the film has a bit more of an intelligent edge than your average Bond femme fatale. In an interview with IGN about her role, Arterton said of Agent Fields, "She's not a typical Bond girl. She's actually quite funny, and very real, and someone that you could know from down the road."

Although the character of Agent Fields has a minor role in the grand scheme of the movie, her unfortunate end has become a classic moment of the Daniel Craig Bond era. In a callback to the gold-coated demise of '60s Bond girl Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton), toward the end of the film, Bond finds Agent Fields dead and draped over the bed in their shared hotel room, having been drowned in crude oil.

Although she was completely covered in black paint and barely recognizable, Arterton filmed the scene herself. In an interview with Daily Mail, she spoke about shooting the now iconic moment: "I couldn't move. I couldn't see, I couldn't breathe or hear because it went in my ears. It was unpleasant, but it's something I'll always remember and it will be an iconic part of the film."

Gemma Arterton got physical with the supernatural in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

"Bond girl" isn't the only role from the cultural canon that Arterton has taken on. In 2013, she co-starred with Jeremy Renner (the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Hawkeye) as one half of the famous fairytale sibling duo in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. The Tommy Wirkola-directed film wasn't so much an adaptation of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale as it was a reimagining that followed the German brother and sister after their childhood encounter with a cannibal witch. As adults, Hansel and Gretel don't get captured by witches... they terminate them with extreme prejudice.

The film's bombastic action and slick Hollywood movie dialogue was divisive, but Arterton threw herself into the role. The film's version of Gretel sees her as more of a brawler than a damsel, which the actress saw as a pleasant change of place. She even performed her own stunts, as she explained to the Sydney Morning Herald: ”I had actually had quite a bit of stunt training when I studied acting at RADA [London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts], and was one of the only girls to get a distinction in fighting... I'd always wanted to do it in a film!”

Considering Gretel's high body count, Arterton definitely saw her wish come true.

Gemma Arterton taught zombies in The Girl with All the Gifts

Arterton continued her streak of appearing in unique takes on well-worn genres with 2016's The Girl with All the Gifts. This out of the box take on zombie movies came a bit too late in the recent glut of shambling undead films for some, but those who gave it a chance found it to be an uncommonly smart entry into the genre. In the film, Arterton plays a teacher at a facility where zombie-human hybrid children are studied in an attempt to find a cure for a fungus that has zombified most of humanity.

Like some of her other projects, the movie allowed Arterton to inject equal parts emotional nuance and gun-toting action into the role. Her character, Helen, grapples with the fact that these hybrid children, created only to be sacrificed in order to save humanity, are just as worthy of the opportunity to live on their own terms as humans are. In an interview with Yahoo!, Arterton drew comparisons between the film's plot and the state of world politics "[The film is a metaphor for] the immigration crisis. People turning against each other," she said. "The older generation not making room for the younger generation; deciding that they want to stick to their ways, when the younger generation have got more open ways, more progressive ways of thinking."

Whether she's hamming it up, bringing the drama, or kicking ass, Arterton is an actress who brings the full weight of her talent to bear on every role she takes on. Hopefully, she'll return in the Murder Mystery sequel — but there's no doubt we'll be seeing this talented thespian in many other exciting roles in the future.