Interview with Gemma Atkinson
February 3, 2012
To mark the release of ‘How to Stop Being a Loser’ on DVD on Monday, WhatDVD.Net caught up with one of the stars of the film, Gemma Atkinson. Gill Critchley spoke to Gemma about her experiences on the movie, and dating in general.
Gill: I watched the film last night; it was absolutely fantastic, just really hilarious.
Gemma: Thank you
Gill: What was it like playing a character that’s so different to you, because you’re so lovely and nice and you play Hannah, who in the end isn’t very nice?
Gemma: Yes it was fun, and when I first read the script my initial thought was not to do the role because I thought Hannah was just the girl next door and the eye candy in the film. It’s as I read on that I realised that she does become a bitch, and it’s something different that will be brilliant to do, but it was fantastic. It was hard to do because I get on with Simon so well, so after every shoot I had to hug him and tell him I was sorry, but no it was great.
I’ve got an older sister so I’ve spoken to her like that a few times.
Gill: So what made you want to do this film, what made you go for it?
Gemma: Just because it was something different really, the part was offered to me which I was really flattered by and just because it was different from anything I have played before. I mean, normally I play the nice characters or the eye candy characters, which I thought this was going to be, but as I read on I thought oh right there’s more to her than I thought. Also because it’s a comedy and I’ve never done that before, just horror and gangster films, so it was a new genre I got to do as well.
Gill: Which did you prefer do you think, doing the comedy films or more horror?
Gemma: I mean they’re both amazing, but with the comedy you kind of come off set on a high, sort of really excited. After doing 13 hours every day I’d come off set with a headache because of all the crying and screaming and it was a lot more physical and running around and stuff, but they were both as enjoyable, I mean I would do both of them again.
Gill: What would you say was your favourite part of the movie, are the any bits that you enjoyed filming or that stand out to you when you watch it back?
Gemma: The montage stuff I did with Simon I really enjoyed as we were getting to know each other because we did actually film that with just me and Simon, Dom just set the camera up and we went bowling for half an hour and then we went to Nandos, had some food and a chat so he got clips of that, so I like them bits because there like the most natural bits in the film and it’s because it’s ourselves kind of relaxed and enjoying ourselves, so I think that’s the best bit for me.
Gill: Were there any funny or embarrassing moments on set that you can think back too?
Gemma: Yes there was quite a few, Simon will kill me for telling you but he’s not as tall as me so when we did the kicking scene he had to stand on a box. I mean I had high heels on and we were in this like warehouse so it was freezing cold. I said I’ll take my shoes off and Dom said no it’s freezing, we will put Simon on a box. So he will actually kill me for saying that but that was quiet funny.
And just the things in the house, they were funny; the bed scenes with me and Simon, we had to have our picture taken to let the girls look at and it was me in the bed so that was quiet funny. I mean the whole run of it really, the outtakes show how much fun we had, it was constant laughs.
Gill: Yes it does look like there’s a really good vibe on set, especially when you watch the out takes so; do you have any embarrassing pickup lines that I’m sure people have asked you before?
Gemma: Yes I always get them, it’s quiet funny when I get the Holllyoaks fans, and they say did we go to school together and they’re like 4x my age, and I’m like no I don’t think we did. I don’t know, I always get people saying I don’t know who you are but do you want a drink, and I always say well if you don’t know who they are then why would you say that to somebody, you just wouldn’t make a point of saying that they’re a stranger
Gill: No it doesn’t make sense does it?
Gemma: Or when they say I’ve not seen Hollyoaks, so they think you’re going to be more attracted to them, it’s quiet bizarre really.
Gill: I was looking into Airborne, the film you did with Mark Hamill, and I think directed by Simon and Dom wasn’t it, so have you got a bit of a team together now, have you got any future projects or anything like that coming up?
Gemma: Yes definitely. I mean we finished Airborne then were all going to start a horror called UFO, but unfortunately I got signed on to another job so I couldn’t do UFO with them but this year John’s got a few more scripts that he’s seeing to at the minute, but we have all decided to work together again, were not sure what on yet but he has got two or three scripts that are very specific, and he won’t just make a film for the sake of it. He has to kind of make sure that it’s something he’s going to enjoy and that he can make into something really good. But yes hopefully we will get started on that within the next couple of months, it will be great, can’t wait to work with them again.
Gill: Yes, why is it you think you all so well together, is there anything you can think of?
Gemma: I think it’s because everybody is on the same page really, obviously Dom’s the director but he’s an actor as well, so he’s a lot easier to be around on set and I think because he uses the same crew a lot as well, who are all fantastic, everyone kind of knows how everyone works. I mean Dom could be plotting a scene and you can see Dom and the cameraman, they have both got the same ideas on how to shoot it before even discussing it, so I just think it makes everything a lot easier when you work with a team.
Gill: Yes that sounds lovely, I mean like I say it does come across. I’m really looking forward to seeing Airborne, what was it like to work with Mark Hamill?
Gemma: It was brilliant, he was so nice. I only really met him because I literally had just one scene with him in the airport, and it was my last day of shooting, so they kind of saved it until last which was great, and he was really sweet. Again it’s weird because I embarrassingly have not seen any of the Star Wars films, so I kind of Googled him before I went on so I had an idea, but he still looks the same, you can tell its him, you know when you look, he’s still got the same face.
Gill: It’s nice to hear that he was nice to work with, though you sort of think they’re going to be these big Hollywood names.
Gemma: Yes that’s the thing. I think everyone kind of thought it would be a bit difficult but he was really nice, and I said to Dom is everything alright and Dom said he’s been absolutely smashing
Gill: That’s really good, have you got any favourite actors that have inspired you or that you would particularly like to work with in the future?
Gemma: To be honest, with British actors there is so much talent within the UK that they’re difficult to pick up now, you tend to go more towards Hollywood names. I mean, some people in the UK, like the cast of Skins, I think there all amazing. When I worked with Alan Ford, again he was in Airborne, I had also done Casualty with him and I really like Alan because again he’s such a well-known British actor and he was just really nice and I had a really good laugh with him.
Gill: So there are more British actors that you would like to work with?
Gemma: Don’t get me wrong, if the opportunity came up to work with a Hollywood star then yes, definitely, but I love Charlize Theron. I think she’s fantastic and I’d love to do a period drama, that’s kind of my aim to do something like that
Gill: That would be lovely, sort of a Downton Abbey kind of thing.
Gemma: Yes, that would be brilliant
Gill: Are there any differences between working with UK and US actors, especially with something like comedy where it’s not translated the same?
Gemma: I think with comedy yes, I think the UK and the US we have different views; like our comedy is quiet dry and US can be quiet direct. I think the UK and the US have different views, it’s like if you look at our version of The Office compared to their version of The Office, they’re both funny, just in different ways, so for me a comedy would be a lot easier with a UK cast.
Gill: Yes, Definitely. Have you got three words that you would use to descried How to Stop Being a Loser to somebody to make them go out and watch it or sum up the film?
Gemma: I’d say laugh out loud really, because I think Simon’s character James, everyone can relate to him at some point in their life, whether it’s in their teenage years or in their early 20’s or whatever, at some point they will be able to relate to them.
Gill: Ok and just wanted to ask you, as How to Stop Being a Loser comes out 6th February, it’s the perfect Valentine’s Day movie to watch. Have you got any top tips for the perfect Valentine’s Day?
Gemma: Well, I’m away this Valentine’s Day; I’m in Africa so I’m going to be in a hotel room by myself! But I always prefer little gestures really on Valentine’s Day because I’m not really in to the big spenders and stuff; I prefer something a lot more meaningful. I mean my boyfriend Liam took me skiing for Valentine’s Day and all my friends were like, that’s crap skiing – it’s too much exercise, but I told him when we met that it was something I’ve never done but would like to do, so he remembered it and that’s what we done but I think something meaningful, something a bit more, go more personal and get something your partner would like.
Gill: That sounds perfect, for the perfect day. Alright well thank you very much for speaking to me. It’s been really interesting
Gemma: Thank you very much
Gill: Thank you and good luck with everything in the future
Gemma: Thank you, Bye
‘How to Stop Being a Loser’ is available to buy on DVD from 6th February 2012