Embrace the unexpected

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1 January 1970

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Embrace the unexpected with Summerland, in cinemas January 28.

Gemma Arterton may not be a name many are familiar with, but the British actress and former Bond girl has a variety of projects lined up for release this year which are sure to make her star rise higher – from the Kingsman prequel to the haunting Neon series Black Narcissus, as well as touching wartime film Summerland.

Summerland is set during World War II and Gemma plays reclusive writer Alice who, plagued by memories of a love affair from her past, is absorbed in her work trying to debunk myths and legends – such as the pagan afterlife known as Summerland – all the while being shunned by her neighbours, who see her as strange.

“She looks different. She dresses differently. She doesn’t abide by the rules of everybody else,” explains Gemma, 34. “She really doesn’t care to be honest. She’s basically got all of her armour on and doesn’t want anyone to come into her life.”

One day, however, Alice finds herself the unwilling guardian of a young evacuee from bomb-ravaged London, and wants nothing to do with poor Frank (played by Lucas Bond). But when she slowly starts to let him into her life, her walls come down and she discovers a kind of magic that she didn’t believe possible.

“One of the things I loved was Alice is not your typical, likeable, blah leading lady,” Gemma says. “She is who she is, she doesn’t apologise for it, and there’s a reason why she is who she is, which we do learn about.

“But that’s another thing that I think is important,” she adds. “The stories we put out there, and the female characters we see on our screens are not necessarily always perfect, as that’s life, people aren’t perfect. I loved that.”

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