When we think of Gemma Arterton it’s hard not to see her as the glamorous actress who played a Bond Girl in Quantum of Solace and the title role in Tamara Drewe. The majority of the roles she’s taken have actually skewed quite differently, and in her latest film The Escape she stars as an ordinary woman who decides to flee everything she once held dear.
Having previously debuted at TIFF, The Escape is directed by Dominic Savage, mostly known for hi work on the small screen. Arterton stars as a wife and mother in suburban England who seems to have it all. However, the content she shows on the outside hides the disconnect she feels on the inside, and when it becomes too much she books a one-way ticket to Paris and walks away from it all.
Speaking with EW, Arterton revealed that the entire film was improvised from a brief treatment written by Savage. She also says her goal was to highlight the issue of mental illness, especially in women…
“I guess one of my endeavors as an actress is to shine a light on women, and not necessarily glamorous women. This woman is fascinating, but she’s not necessarily likable, and some of the things that she does are deemed by society as unacceptable. A lot of men leave their families, but if a woman does it she’s seen as a monster. It’s up to the audience to decide, but I just wanted to show why a woman might do that and have people not immediately make a judgment about her.”
She continues, “No one says to her, ‘Maybe you should go and see somebody, or maybe you should talk to somebody. She’s never given that help in that way, and it eats away at her. I think one of the biggest lessons to be learned from this film is the power of honest conversation; maybe it wouldn’t have gotten to the point it gets to just by being able to talk. There’s been big discussions afterwards from people who have seen it, and that for me is a compliment because even if people are angry, films should start conversations.”
The Escape opens in theaters and VOD on May 11th.