Carey Mulligan was born in England on the 28th May 1985. She spent her first eight years of life living in Germany, but then moved back to her home country, where she now resides in Covent Garden, London.
She was first drawn to acting when she was at school, at just six years old she was so inconsolable at not being allowed to join her elder brother in a school play of ‘The Kind and I, that she was eventually allowed a part in the chorus. Ten years later, at the age of sixteen and while at Woldingham School in Surrey she went to see Kenneth Branagh in his production of ‘Henry V’. She was so inspired by his performance that she wrote to him asking for advice.
‘I explained that my parents didn’t want me to act, but that I felt it was my vocation in life,’ she says.
She still has the letter she got back from Branagh’s sister saying,
‘Kenneth says that if you feel such a strong need to be an actress, you must be an actress.’
At eighteen years old Carey took a Gap year from education, and waited – at the insistence of her parents – to start at Reading University. She explains how, for her, University just wasn’t a dream, and after meeting Julian Fellowes at school she says:
I wrote to my headmistress explaining that I didn’t want to go to university and wanted to get in touch with him. I knew it was a bit of a long shot, but I was desperate.
A few weeks after her letter, Carey recieved a phonecall from Fellowe’s wife, Emma, inviting her to a dinner they were holding for young hopefuls. It was here that her true dreams began to take shape, and she was put forth by her new mentors for a role in Joe Wright’s production of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, where she successfully won the part of Kitty Bennett.
She then went on to star in several successful television dramas, such as ‘Bleak House’, ‘Northanger Abbey’, ‘The Amazing Mrs Pritchard’ and more recently ‘Doctor Who’. Alongside this however, Carey has taken a keen interest in the stage, and has won wide recognition in her perfomances, particularly in the Royal Court production of ‘The Seagull’, in which she starred alongside Kristin Scott-Thomas. In the middle of the plays run she was taken ill with appendicitis, and was told to spend three to six weeks recovering. One week later, she was back on stage.
Her consequent performance in the 2007 drama ‘My Boy Jack’ has been perhaps one of Careys most moving perfomances, having said herself of her character:
I could relate to her in every way
Careys own brother had recently volunteered with the Territorial Army in Iraq after graduating from Oxford University. Although he is now safely back home, it appears this may have influenced Carey, and her presence within the film has been described as: ‘as affecting as its subject matter’.
It wasn’t until 2009 however, that Carey began to be truely recognised for her talent, making a big splash at Sundance in ‘An Education’ and gaining many more roles as a result. It seems our talented young woman is just getting started. Watch this space.