Late last September, Carey Mulligan stood on the stage at the Town Hall in New York surrounded by some of the most famous musicians in the world—including her husband, Marcus Mumford, of Mumford & Sons, Patti Smith, and Joan Baez—and she looked as if she might faint. “I was terrified to sing in that company,” Mulligan recalled two months later, still sounding shaky and awestruck. She was on her way to the airport in Los Angeles, about to return home to London, where she had recently filmed Far From the Madding Crowd, an adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel. The film represents a return to Mulligan’s British roots: In 2013, she played the iconic American character Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, as well as Jean Berkey, a complex American folksinger in Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis. “I wasn’t sure I could do the part,” Mulligan said of the latter. “I was so immersed in the fantasy world of Daisy. I finished Gatsby on a Friday afternoon, and by the weekend I was in a long wig filming Llewyn Davis in Washington Square Park.” Mulligan appreciated being able to stomp around in a trenchcoat after all the Gatsby gowns and jewels. “As Jean, I was swearing like a trooper, and the Coens would be saying, ‘More, more—make her even harsher!’?” she said, laughing. “There was never a conversation about trying to make any of the characters in Llewyn Davis likable.”
Based loosely on the autobiography of Dave Van Ronk, the film centers on an uncompromising folksinger who would rather self–destruct than sell out. Oscar Isaac, in the title role of Davis, is at once maddening and captivating. Berkey, his sometime lover and a singer herself, is envious of and angered by his artistic purity of intent. Like pretty much every Coen brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis is the story of a beautiful American loser.
“My biggest concern was the singing,” Mulligan continued. “I was a wreck. But when T Bone Burnett [the musical producer for the film] asked me to sing 500 Miles at Town Hall, I couldn’t say no. Every time I did the song, I’d fuck it up. T Bone told me, ‘Whiskey helps.’ I hadn’t had a drink in a month, but after three sips, I was so up for singing.”
In fact, Mulligan sang beautifully at the Town Hall that night (and also in the movie) as part of Another Day, Another Time, a concert benefiting the National Recording Preservation Foundation. “The community of musicians is so enviable,” she recalled. “They walk into a room and they are immediately friends because they all play music. Actors don’t have that easy rapport—we can walk into a room and start improvising, but nobody wants that.”
When she was young, growing up in hotels all over Europe where her father worked as a manager, Mulligan, 28, often took the male roles in the all-girl schools she attended. “The men had better parts,” she told me. “The girl parts were always a bit lame.” In her professional career, she has made a point of not accepting roles as the woman in the shadow of the leading man. “I rather like being brutal in movies. I never thought it would be very interesting to play someone uncomplicated. I find if I’m not scared, then I’m probably not right for the role.”
Carey has appeared on Total Film’s list of the 50 Most Exciting Actors of 2014, and here’s what they had to say:
#50 Carey Mulligan
The Exciting Actor: Carey Mulligan made everybody pay attention with her surprisingly mature turn in An Education.
Though her movie choices have been hit and miss in the years since then, there’s no denying she’s a talent to keep tabs on, especially in 2014.
Why 2014 Could Be Their Year: The Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis has garnered much attention on the festival circuit, with Mulligan singled out for her performance, while Far From The Madding Crowd promises drama by the bucket-load.
Thanks to the lovely Luciana, we have scans of Carey from the December 18 issue of TheWrap, where she discussed Inside Llewyn Davis and Far From the Madding Crowd. Enjoy!
Press > 2013 > Dec 18 | TheWrap
I’ve just added a gorgeous photoshoot that Carey did from earlier this year – enjoy!
Photoshoots & Portraits > 2013 > Set 005
Carey is set to cover Dazed & Confused‘s January issue, themed ‘The Modern Myths’ issue. Check out the gorgeous cover below, along with a few shots from the photoshoot and a behind the scenes video:
Press > 2014 > Jan | Dazed & Confused
Photoshoots & Portraits > 2013 > Set 004
Baz Luhrmann’s blockbuster The Great Gatsby has led the nominations for the 3rd annual AACTA Awards with 14 nods, closely followed by Kim Mordaunt’s independent film The Rocket
The two are vastly different Australian features. The Great Gatsby is a razzle-dazzle adaptation of an American classic novel, while The Rocket, which earned 12 nominations, is a low-budget, foreign-language feature, filmed entirely in Laos with a lead actor plucked from the streets.
The two features are also up for Best Film alongside Dead Europe, Mystery Road, Satellite Boy and The Turning.
You can read the full list of nominations here. The 3rd annual AACTA Awards ceremony will be held on January 30, 2014
The Coen brothers’ Cannes Grand Prix-winning Inside Llewyn Davis picked up another award ahead of the coming Oscars season with victory in the best feature category at the Gotham independent film awards.
The Coens’ poignant and elliptical vision of New York’s 1960s folk scene, which stars Carey Mulligan, Oscar Isaac and John Goodman, was a fitting winner for a festival that began life as a celebration of indie film-making in America’s north east. The Coens will be hoping the film helps add to their collection of four Oscars next March.
The Gotham awards are not generally seen as an accurate bellwether for Oscars success, though two of last year’s winners (Moonrise Kingdom and Beasts of the Southern Wild) were nominated for prizes by the Academy.
Once the quietly bold, somewhat naïve teenage characters of “An Education” and “Never Let Me Go,” actress Carey Mulligan has swiftly altered course in the past few years and tapped into an inner rage—first as Michael Fassbender’s unsettled sister in Steve McQueen’s “Shame,” and now as the perpetually furious folk singer Jean in the Coen Brothers’ newest film, “Inside Llewyn Davis”. Her character has good reason (mild spoilers): facing the struggles of starting a music career in 1960s New York alongside a volatile affair with Llewyn (played by Oscar Isaac), Mulligan’s character is a cathartic, energetic flood of anger over Llewyn’s aimless nature, and a unique touch to the brilliant film that falls in line among the directors’ best.
Recently we got the opportunity to sit down in Los Angeles with the “Drive” actress, who also contributed her own vocals to the brilliant “Inside Llewyn Davis” soundtrack. She had just flown in from Dorset, fresh off Thomas Vinterberg’s adaptation of “Far From The Madding Crowd,” and in our talk she discussed Vinterberg’s approach to the period film, her shift in preparation when working with the Coens and also an update on Nicolas Winding Refn’s announced “all-female horror” film “I Walk With The Dead” (which recently received a new writer in precocious Brit playwright Polly Stenham).
In the script, Jean is described in her first scene simply as “a young woman.” How did you, the Coens, and possibly even Oscar build up Jean’s intense personality?
Well, you get so much of a sense of her from her dialogue. You understand that she’s a very close friend of Oscar’s character; they have a history, they’ve been friends for a long time, and you’re meeting them in the absolute worst week. I think you kind of understand the world that she’s in by the things that Llewyn says about her—the things that she doesn’t say about herself, the things she won’t admit to. She’s in a relationship with the wrong person—Justin [Timberlake's] character—and the person that really knows her best is Oscar’s character. Everything else was just sort of fun to play with; I was trying to temper my anger in her scenes and the Coens just kept pushing to be more furious.
My audition tape was pretty extreme, anger-wise, and then when we got on set we just started playing with it. Ethan particularly thought it was hilarious, because in his mind I was always playing nice people, so he thought it was really funny that a 16-year-old schoolgirl would be playing someone quite so mean. But [The Coens'] are not big for the backstory. They don’t really sit you down and explain. John Goodman is always saying that he has no idea who his parts are or where they came from. I’m not like that at all; I generally tend to go into all of my projects with a huge scrapbook, and I spend months figuring out what I’m going to do—not planning necessarily, but feeling qualified enough. On this I had none of that. I was filming [“The Great Gatsby”] up until four days before I filmed this, so I walked straight off that onto this set and had no prep time. I just kind of winged it, and that was actually great for once. Not that The Coens wing it, but they just want people to get up and do it.
The first three stills of Carey as Bathsheba Everdene from her upcoming project Far From The Madding Crowd have been released online today and added to the gallery:
Film Productions > Far From The Madding Crowd (2014) > Stills
Carey Mulligan is poised to return to the West End in a new version of Patrick Marber’s play Closer.
The Great Gatsby actress has been in secret talks about the revival and insiders are already predicting it will be a huge hit.
The play is about the tangled relationships of two couples. It is not yet clear whether Carey will play Alice, an American stripper, or Anna, a photographer.
‘David Leveaux, who will direct the play, worked with Carey in New York in Through A Glass Darkly in 2011 and he’s very keen that she star in Closer,’ says a source.
‘Carey has been offered a lot of money. Advanced negotiations have taken place but she hasn’t confirmed officially. The whole thing is being planned for next summer.’
The play scooped the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play in 1998 and was made into a film in 2004 starring Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen and Jude Law.
Carey, 28, last appeared on the London stage in 2007 in The Seagull alongside Kristin Scott Thomas and Chiwetel Ejiofor, at the Royal Court.
She was also in The Hypochondriac at the Almeida in 2005.
Carey, who is married to Mumford & Sons frontman Marcus Mumford, is currently filming Far From The Madding Crowd with Michael Sheen and Tom Sturridge.