Gemma Arterton, who broke out in movies so promisingly with a peppy but brief role as Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace, seems to have hit a skid recently. That high-profile role along with her work in the dark indie The Disappearance of Alice Creed seemed to promise huge talent, but she got lost in the background of back-to-back noisy blockbusters Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and precious few people bothered to catch her Stephen Frears comedy Tamara Drewe— a shame, since she’s terrific in it. The would-be blockbuster Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters seemed to offer her a chance to shine in a co-lead role along with Jeremy Renner, but when that film was pushed from release this spring to January 2013, it seemed like a pretty bad sign.
How can Arterton get her budding movie-star mojo back? By getting the hell away from big action movies, for one thing, and she’s doing exactly that with her latest announced role. According to THR she’ll be starring in The Wright Girls, a dark comedy and thriller about two actresses who pretend to be best friends but scheme to destroy each other when they’re up for the same movie role. The script is written by Easy A‘s Bert Royal, which is probably the best sign of its potential– that movie, while imperfect, was a huge breakout vehicle for Emma Stone a few years back. If The Wright Girls has that movie’s same wit and sparkle, it could mean really good things for Arterton’s range as an actress.
Then again, the film is directed by Andy Fickman, whose previous film You Againdepicted women squabbling with each other in a way that pretty much nobody liked. But I’m rooting for Arterton, and like to think she’s got movie-star chops in there somewhere that just haven’t found the right vehicle yet. At the very least, not holding a sword or wearing sandals in this one is going to be a good start.