Gemma Arterton says she's 'terrified' about playing Dusty Springfield in upcoming biopic

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·3-min read
Gemma Arterton is set to play Dusty Springfield in a biopic. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives)
Gemma Arterton is set to play Dusty Springfield in a biopic. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives)

Gemma Arterton has confessed she’s “terrified” by the prospect of playing music icon Dusty Springfield in movie biopic So Much Love.

The 34-year-old star has been cast to play the legendary soul singer in the film, which will serve as the directorial debut for Carol screenwriter Phyllis Nagy.

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Arterton told the Daily Mirror that the movie will follow Springfield during her move from London to Memphis in the USA and the making of the Dusty in Memphis album, prior to her career decline in the wake of addiction.

She reinvigorated her career by collaborating with the Pet Shop Boys in the 1980s and received plenty of recognition prior to her death in 1999 at the age of just 59 after battling breast cancer.

Arterton teased that So Much Love will be a “more intimate” take on a music icon than recent blockbuster biopic like Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody.

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The British star said: “I am kind of a bit terrified by it, but at the same time really excited.

“It’s about a specific moment in her life when she made Dusty in Memphis and went to America for the first time and did that amazing incredible album and defied everybody’s expectations.”

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After that album, Springfield’s personal and professional life began to unravel.

“Her career just slid away from her in the 70s and didn’t come back until the 80s when she worked with the Pet Shop Boys,” said Arterton.

“There was a really bleak time. She used to go into drag clubs and do Dusty Springfield acts and pretend to be Dusty in order to win $100 or $50. And sometimes she didn’t win.”

Dusty Springfield and Tom Jones singing in 1971. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives)
Dusty Springfield and Tom Jones singing in 1971. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives)

Arterton, who is promoting her role in BBC miniseries Black Narcissus, said she has been doing “a little bit of practicing” in order to perfect her take on Springfield’s singing voice.

She added: “I am not ready to publicly out her yet. I really hope I get to do it justice.”

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Arterton shot to fame in 2008 when she played Strawberry Fields in the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace, appearing alongside Daniel Craig.

She has been critical of that role since making the movie and recently told The Sun that there is “so much wrong with Bond women”.

“Strawberry should have just said no, really, and worn flat shoes,” she added.

Daniel Craig and Gemma Arterton in 'Quantum of Solace'. (Credit: Eon/Sony)
Daniel Craig and Gemma Arterton in 'Quantum of Solace'. (Credit: Eon/Sony)

In recent years, Arterton has launched her own production company, which focuses on creating female-led movies and television shows.

Her next big screen role is in Kingsman prequel The King’s Man, in which she plays a nanny with hidden action skills.

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It’s certainly a far cry from portraying a nun in Black Narcissus, which adapts the 1939 novel by Rumer Godden — previously filmed for an iconic 1947 film by Powell and Pressburger.

Black Narcissus is on BBC iPlayer now and The King’s Man is due to be released into UK cinemas on 12 March 2021.

Watch: Trailer for The King’s Man