Gravesend, U.K.-born Hannah Arterton’s first bigscreen appearance was a fully fledged lead — opposite Greg Wise and Leona Lewis in cheery summertime musical “Walking on Sunshine,” released in the U.K. in June.
Crammed with ’80s jukebox favorites and starring an all-singing, all-dancing Arterton as a college student hung up on her sister’s fiance, the film has grossed more than $3 million internationally.
In the same week “Walking on Sunshine” opened in the U.K., the microbudget adult drama “Hide and Seek” — in which Arterton excels as a member of a polyamorous commune — premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival, where it won the award for British feature.
That last name is no coincidence: The 25-year-old is the younger sister of Gemma Arterton. The sibs also share an alma mater: the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where Hannah — who called getting accepted to the venerable school “bonkers” — was beginning her studies just as Gemma’s career was taking off.
No surprise that Arterton should have broken through in a tuner: Music was her first love, playing in bands from the age of 15. “Singing in bars with lots of drunk people around,” she laughs, “was a great learning curve.” She attended a performing-arts high school, but only caught the acting bug after trying out some musical theater in her senior year.
Though Arterton has experience in stage, television (BBC fantasy series “Atlantis”) and radio (Radio 4 musical drama “Queens of Noise”), film is where she wants to concentrate her career, and she’s perusing scripts. “There’s so much variety in film,” she says, noting she intends to balance her work between indie and mainstream roles. “As an actor, you find different freedoms in both those forms.”