Just don't give up on your goals: Interview with Hannah Arterton
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It is a warm Monday afternoon and the sun outside seems to be so inviting, especially for the number of people stuck behind windows and screens, drowning in their day jobs.
This would normally be me, but today I am lucky- I get a little break from the routine to have a half an hour chat with the actress Hannah Arterton.
As I wait for the phone call I wonder what kind of person the Safe star would be. She grew up in a council estate with her older sister and mother. Her career has so far touched upon everything from stage acting, film, television and radio.
Her teenage life was dedicated to what she knew was her passion - she studied Performance and Music Technology at North Kent College's Miskin Theatre and later graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. During her time in college she was even offered a record deal.
I get the impression she will be a determined young person who will have a lot of advice to offer to young people who dream of an acting career. And I’m not disappointed- the bubbly, light and friendly voice over the phone, belongs to a person with a lot of life experience and she’s more than willing to share it with me.
I am curious why Hannah chose acting. She was initially drawn to music, but as a “a bit of a general extrovert”, as she describes herself, she discovered acting in her final year of college.
The rest, as they say, is history. She followed her heart - acting was what she enjoyed doing, and as she says “was good at, as a happy coincidence”. She just kept following that path, she was lucky to study with people who she loved working with, who gave her support and were as driven as her.
But it was not always a fairytale. As many students know, the hard part is after you graduate and that’s what Hannah Arterton had to find out for herself. Once she was “out there” all the rehearsals and lessons felt like another world.
But her advice is to always stay committed to your goals: “Unless you come from a wealthy background it can sometimes be very hard to support yourself and stay committed to your goals, as it can take as much of your energy as it takes to pursue what you’re trying to achieve.
"But keep going and the harder you work the better the payoff will be. Always. Just keep going.”
And I feel like these are words we all need to hear in our student years.
Photo Credits: Gareth Cattermole at GettyImages, Makeup by Maja Rikner using Lancôme and shoot location Grosvenor House Suites by Jumeirah Living.
Hannah herself is a proof that hard work pays off. Her role as Detective Constable (DC) Emma Castle in the Netflix’ series Safe was written by Harlan Coben especially for her, because of her previous excellence in the Sky1 series The Five (written by the same author), where she also played a DC, Ally Cane.
She says about Safe: “We started filming last July, it was really incredible. The actors, the crew, the writing - it was all brilliant. It was an exciting job really.”
In her own words, Safe has a massive young person vibe about it as well: “There is a lot in the story about teenagers who want their freedom, who want to grow up on their own terms, parents struggling with that transition and looking into how technology is starting to really have an effect on the situation.
"Safe is asking where the line is. Is it okay to be tracked in the name of safety?”
About her character, D.C. Emma Castle, Hannah says: “I think she’s quite different from me in a way that she’s very driven and quite of, I wouldn’t say uptight but she’s very ambitious.
"I enjoyed portraying her because I’m not like her. I am ambitious but not in such an aggressive way. So it was interesting to be that person, who is not like you. I find it quite fun to play characters who are different from me. She is very lonely though, and has no one in her life, which I feel makes her a lot more likable and relatable character.”
And, in case you are wondering about the series finale Hannah Arterton is positive that there are prospects for further seasons. “There is no definite “yes” or “no” but watch this space!”
While Emma Castle was interesting to portray because she was so different from Hannah, there is another character, with which Arterton feels she has a lot in common. Bobbi Johnson is the protagonist in the movie Peripheral, which is currently in post-production and will premiere at some point in 2018.
Bobbi is a writer and her first book was a huge success. When the film starts she’s just about to start her first novel, but she already put her passion in the first one. She said what she wanted to say and now she’s thinking of what she’s going to say now.
"The film is about her dealing with the monster that seems to be the capitalist, money-driven market that controls artists." Hannah says, "In order to be able to get work we have to please the people who have the money. She’s trying to maintain her voice, saying what she wants while keeping everyone happy.
"I think there are parts of her where I definitely associate with her- she’s very lonely and she definitely does not enjoy the spotlight. I think there are parts of this, which I do understand - not as severely as her but especially in this job, when you travel a lot and you’re alone a lot and you’re away from home a lot, feeling lonely can be something I relate to."
Bobbi’s struggle as a young woman to have her voice heard in this huge space that she’s really passionate about is also something Hannah understands first-hand: "Sticking to her beliefs and making sure that her life is set the way she wants it, I can definitely relate to that.”
Photo Credits: Netflix
With all her success in the TV and film industry, one would suppose that Hannah Arterton has left theatre behind.
On the contrary, she shares that one of her future goals is to be on stage again: “I haven’t done a play in a while and kind of want to go back and just check that I can still do it. But in the end, I just love doing plays, you get to experience everything in one night and that’s a special feeling.”
By the end of our conversation I can tell that Hannah is one of these real, down-to-earth people, who will not strike you with another inspirational Facebook quote or cliché message, but will rather be there for you - be it with some real-life advice or a funny anecdote.
Harlan Coben's SAFE is now available to stream on Netflix globally.