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The Transformation Of Gemma Arterton From Childhood To The King's Man

The 2014 spy thriller "Kingsman: The Secret Service" became a major commercial success upon its release, with many fans of the film getting invested in the mythology established by filmmaker Matthew Vaughn, who directed and co-wrote the film, adapting it from the graphic novel series "The Secret Service," written by Mark Millar. Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman reunited in 2017 for the sequel "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," with much of the principal cast, including lead Taron Egerton, returning for the sequel.

For the third entry in the franchise, however, Vaughn is going to the past. The film, titled "The King's Man," is set in the early 20th century and focuses on the creation of the agency. Due to the prequel nature of the movie, it boasts an entirely new cast. One of the most notable newcomers to the franchise is Gemma Arterton, who plays Polly in the film. In anticipation of the release of "The King's Man," here's everything you need to know about Gemma Arterton's career, from her first big break to major blockbusters.

Arterton was set to act from a young age

Gemma Arterton was born in February 1986 in Gravesend, a town located on the River Thames in England. In an interview on "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross," she spoke about being born with an extra finger on each hand, a condition called polydactyly that both her grandfather and father had. Doctors removed the extra fingers shortly after her birth.

Arterton's mother was a cleaner, and her father was a welder (via Stylist). Her parents divorced at a young age and she grew up with her mother and younger sister Hannah, who is three years younger than her. She attended the Gravesend Grammar School for Girls as a teenager, before going on to North West Kent College when she was 16 to study acting (via Daily Mirror). Arterton went on to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art on a full government grant, graduating in 2008 (per the school's website), at which point her acting career was already in full swing. Her sister Hannah followed in her footsteps by also attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Arterton worked with Guy Ritchie early in her career

Gemma Arterton made her acting debut in 2007 with two films being released in quick succession. She first starred alongside Dame Maggie Smith and Ruth Wilson in the TV movie "Capturing Mary." Her first major role, however, was in the comedy "St Trinian's," a reboot of a franchise that began in 1954. Arterton played Kelly Jones, the school's Head Girl, who befriends new student Annabelle Fritton and subsequently hatches a plan to save the school with a local criminal named Flash Harry. 

Arterton followed it up with a number of key roles in 2008, the first of which was in the Guy Ritchie film "RocknRolla," in which she played June as part of an ensemble cast that included Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Thandiwe Newton, Tom Hardy, and Gerard Butler. She also appeared in a TV adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" on the BBC, playing the titular character, Tess Durbeyfield.

Arterton landed a major role in a Bond film

Gemma Arterton's most prominent role up, to that point, came in the 2008 film "Quantum of Solace," the 22nd installment in the James Bond franchise and the second one with Daniel Craig in the leading role. Arterton played Strawberry Fields, an MI6 agent stationed at the British consulate in Bolivia. Initially assigned to make sure Bond returns to the U.K. from Bolivia, Fields ends up helping Bond, with the duo going undercover at a fundraiser held by main villain Dominic Greene. 

Arterton followed that up in 2009 with the thriller "The Disappearance of Alice Creed." Arterton took on the titular role of Alice Creed for the film, the only child from a rich family who gets kidnapped by two criminals named Vic and Danny. Held hostage by them while they demand a ransom from her parents, Alice discovers that Danny is someone she used to be romantically linked with years ago.

Arterton starred in blockbuster remakes and adaptations

In 2010, Gemma Arterton starred in two blockbusters. The first was "Clash of the Titans," a remake of the 1981 film, co-starring Sam Worthington and Mads Mikkelsen. In the film, Arterton plays Io, a woman suffering from immortality for rejecting the advances of a god. She reveals Perseus's true origins and travels with him to see the Stygian witches, who tell Perseus that a Kraken can be defeated with the head of Medusa.

Later that year, Arterton also starred in "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," an adaptation of the "Prince of Persia" video game series. Arterton played Princess Tamina of Alamut, which is a holy city that gets invaded by the Persian army. The Persian monarch's adopted son, Dastan, steals a sacred dagger that allows the wielder to travel back in time by a minute. Tamina reveals that she's a guardian of the dagger, which can access the Sands of Time underneath Alamut, allowing the user to rewind time further.

Arterton hunted witches and worked with Diana Rigg

Arterton returned to blockbusters in 2013 with "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters," a re-imagining of the classic fairytale in which Arterton plays Gretel, who is now grown up and hunts witches for a fee alongside her brother Hansel, played by Jeremy Renner. The two siblings go to a town named Augsburg, where they're hired by the mayor to find their missing children who the townspeople think have been abducted by witches. 

Arterton continued to appear in supporting roles in films such as "The Voices," "The Girl with All the Gifts," and "How To Build a Girl," while also taking a lead role in the 2016 film "Their Finest," where she plays Catrin Cole, a woman in London in 1940 who gets tasked with telling stories about Britain's efforts in World War II through a female lens. She also returned to television in 2020 for the miniseries "Black Narcissus," where she played Sister Clodagh alongside Dame Diana Rigg, who passed away before the series premiere.

"The King's Man" is sure to be another highlight in Arterton's career, which is already an illustrious one. The film will be released in theaters on Dec 22, 2021.