Published: 09:00, 26 June 2014
There was already one glamorous film siren in the Arterton family of Gravesend, and now make that two.
Bond girl Gemma Arterton’s little sister Hannah is setting the big screen alight in what is tipped to be the big feel-good film of the summer, Walking on Sunshine.
A musical set in the 1980s accompanied by hits of the time, from Madonna via Wham! to Roxette, it tells the tale of two chalk-and-cheese sisters vying for the same guy in a holiday romance.
Our heroine is Taylor, the more studious and serious of the two, played by Hannah, while her love rival and big sister Maddie is played by fellow newcomer Annabel Scholey.
Hannah, 25 – a former pupil at Gravesend Girls’ Grammar like her real-life sister Gemma, 28 – knows all too well her character’s experience of having a glamorous brunette sibling to compete with, but Hannah sees it as a blessing.
Promoting the film, Hannah has said: “I don’t think it’s a hindrance at all. I think maybe it’s opened a door for me that would have been difficult to open if I didn’t have this relationship. But for me it’s just incredible that I’ve got my sister, who is also my best friend, in the same industry fighting the same battles, living the same nomadic lifestyle. That is the best thing ever.”
Referring to sister Gemma’s CV – which includes poster girl roles in St Trinian’s, Quantum of Solace, Prince of Persia and Hansel and Gretel – modest Hannah adds: “I am more ‘girl next door’ – she can be a real ‘sex bomb’. I can’t see it ever being an issue that we are fighting over a part!”
Walking on Sunshine also stars former X Factor winner Leona Lewis in her first feature film, playing a friend of Hannah’s character, comedian Katy Brand and actor Greg Wise, star of Sense and Sensibility and husband of Emma Thompson.
Of the tight group of co-actors, Hannah says the atmosphere on set in Puglia, Italy, had a real family feel, and the stunning setting was a privilege of a first-time experience on a large film set.
“All the girls in it were like a little unit, getting together for drinks in the evening and so on. It didn’t feel like a job at all, actually – just loads of fun and I had to pinch myself a lot. I was just running around in the surf, singing Eternal Flame, it was mad,” she said.
“Leona is so lovely and down to earth. When I first met her, I was a bit starstruck and a bit of a fan. I told myself, don’t start singing Bleeding Love! But as with anyone, you get to know them – she was really sweet, really funny, great to be around and great to have on set. She has this calm energy.”
Hannah adds: “This was my first feature film, as it was for Annabel [Scholey] who plays my on-screen sister. So we were all in it together and we felt like we had each other.”
The film is due for national release from Friday, June 27.
Summer feelgood hits of the 1980s featured in Walking on Sunshine include The Power of Love, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, It Must Have Been Love, Eternal Love, If I Could Turn Back Time and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.
Hannah said: “It Must Have Been Love by Roxette is a really beautiful song actually, the lyrics are brilliant and the version we’ve done is a little bit more acoustic and stripped back. In fact, I think it’s the ultimate break-up song – before Adele, obviously!”
Read the film review here.