Gemma Arterton was born Gemma Christina Arterton in Gravesend, Kent, the elder daughter of Sally-Anne (née Heap), a cleaner, and Barry Arterton, a welder. Arterton was born with polydactyly, and was brought up, along with her sister, Hannah Jane, by their single mother, on a council estate in Gravesend. Arterton's parents divorced when she was five, and her father remarried in 1996. She attended Painters Ash Primary School in Northfleet, then attended Gravesend Grammar School for Girls on Pelham Road in Gravesend, she took a performance arts course at the Miskin Theatre in Dartford (part of North West Kent College) and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art on a full grant.
Gemma Arterton won her first professional role in Stephen Poliakoff's Capturing Mary, while she was still at drama school. Similarly, she made her stage debut as Rosaline in Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost at the Globe Theatre, London in July 2007 before graduating later that year. She made her film debut in St Trinian's (2007) as Head Girl Kelly.
In 2008, she appeared in the James Bond film, Quantum of Solace. Chosen from around 1,500 candidates, Arterton plays Bond Girl Strawberry Fields, in what is described as a "nice-sized role". On her character, Arterton describes Strawberry Fields as "the thinking man's crumpet". In 2008, she played the eponymous protagonist in the BBC adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Also in 2008, she played the role of Elizabeth Bennet in the ITV serial Lost in Austen. Her most controversial role was in the 2009 film The Disappearance of Alice Creed in which Arterton's character is kidnapped and abused in several graphic nude scenes.
She is the face of Avon's Bond Girl 007 fragrance which launched in October 2008. Having already started in a series of low-key adverts for cosmetics company Avon, in May 2008, Gemma Arterton requested a role opposite model Kate Moss for Rimmel, but was blocked on contractual terms under her Avon contract.
In 2010, she made her West End debut in the UK premiere of The Little Dog Laughed. She was originally attached to star in a new adaptation of Wuthering Heights as Catherine Earnshaw, however, she later left the project. She is set to star in Burden of Desire.
Gemma Arterton was seen in the 2010 films Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and played the lead in Tamara Drewe. In 2011, Gemma Arterton was nominated twice by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for her performances in Tamara Drewe and The Disappearance of Alice Creed.
Gemma Arterton has been cast to play Gretel, a modern spin on the children's tale Hansel and Gretel. The character will be an older version of the classic character who works alongside her brother Hansel (Jeremy Renner) as they track down witches for money.
2007 Capturing Mary
2007 St Trinian's
2008 Three and Out
2008 Quantum of Solace
2009 The Boat That Rocked
2009 St. Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's Gold
2010 Clash of the Titans
2010 The Disappearance of Alice Creed
2010 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
2010 Tamara Drewe
2012 Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters