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Carey Mulligan – MovieActors.com

Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby.

About Carey Mulligan (1985 – )

Mulligan was born in Westminster, London, to a middle-class family, the daughter of Nano (née Booth) and Stephen Mulligan. Her father is of Irish descent and was originally from Liverpool. Her mother is from Llandeilo, Wales. She has an older brother, Owain, who was formerly a captain in the British Army who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mulligan's mother is a university lecturer and her father is a hotel manager. Her parents met while they were both working in a hotel in their twenties. When she was three years old, her family moved to Germany when her father was hired to manage a hotel there. While living in Germany, Mulligan and her brother attended the International School of Düsseldorf. When she was eight, she and her family moved back to England. As a teenager, she was educated at Woldingham School in Surrey.

Her interest in acting sparked from watching her brother perform in a school production of The King and I when she was six. During his rehearsals, she pleaded with his teachers to let her be in the play. They let her join the chorus. While enrolled in Woldingham School as teen, she was heavily involved in theatre. She was the student head of the drama department there, performing in plays and musicals, conducting workshops with younger students, and helping put on productions. When Mulligan was 16, she attended a production of Henry V starring Kenneth Branagh. His performance emboldened her and reinforced her belief that she wanted to pursue a career in acting. Mulligan wrote a letter to Branagh's mail listing asking him for advice. "I explained that my parents didn't want me to act, but that I felt it was my vocation in life," she said. Kenneth Branagh's sister wrote back to Mulligan saying, "Kenneth says that if you feel such a strong need to be an actress, you must be an actress."

Mulligan's parents disapproved of her acting ambitions and wished for her to attend a university like her brother. At age 17, Mulligan applied to three London drama schools, instead of the universities that she was expected to submit an application to, but did not receive a subsequent offer. During Mulligan's final year at Woldingham School, actor/screenwriter Julian Fellowes delivered a lecture at her school on the production of the film Gosford Park. Mulligan briefly talked to Fellowes after the lecture and asked him for advice on an acting career. However, Fellowes dissuaded her from the profession and suggested that she "marry a lawyer" instead. Undeterred, Mulligan later sent Fellowes a letter in which she stated that she was serious about acting and that the vocation was her purpose in life. Several weeks later, Fellowes's wife Emma invited Mulligan to a dinner for young, aspiring actors that she and her husband were hosting to offer advice. The dinner event facilitated an introduction between Mulligan and a casting assistant that led to an audition for a role in Pride and Prejudice. Mulligan auditioned on three occasions and eventually attained the role of Kitty Bennett. During her late teens and early twenties, Mulligan worked as a pub barmaid and an errand-runner for Ealing Studios in between acting jobs.

In 2004, at the age of 19, Mulligan began her acting career on stage in the play Forty Winks at the Royal Court Theatre in London. She made her film debut the following year in Pride & Prejudice, the 2005 film adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, portraying Kitty Bennet. Later that year, she auditioned for and won the role of orphan Ada Clare in the BAFTA award-winning BBC adaption of Charles Dickens' Bleak House, her television debut. Among her 2007 projects were My Boy Jack, starring Daniel Radcliffe, that features her in a supporting role. Mulligan identified with her role Elsie, the daughter of writer Rudyard Kipling, who vociferously opposes her brother going to war. She earned a Constellation Award for playing the main character Sally Sparrow in the Doctor Who episode "Blink". She rounded out 2007 by appearing in an acclaimed revival of The Seagull, in which she played Nina to Kristin Scott Thomas's Arkadina and Chiwetel Ejiofor's Trigorin. The Daily Telegraph said her performance was "quite extraordinarily radiating'" and The Observer called her "almost unbearably affecting." While in the middle of the production, she had to have an appendectomy, preventing her from being able to perform for a week. For her debut Broadway performance in the 2008 American transfer of The Seagull, she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, but lost to Angela Lansbury.

Her big breakthrough came when, at 22, she was cast in her first leading role as Jenny in the 2009 independent film An Education, directed by Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig and written by Nick Hornby. Over a hundred actresses auditioned for the part, but Mulligan's audition impressed Scherfig the most. The film and Mulligan's performance received rave reviews, and she was nominated for an Academy Award, Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe, and won a BAFTA Award. Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly and Todd McCarthy of Variety both compared her performance to that of Audrey Hepburn. Rolling Stone's Peter Travers described her as having given a "sensational, starmaking performance," while Claudia Puig of USA Today felt that Mulligan had one of the year's best performances, and Toby Young of The Times felt she anchored the film. Writing in The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw concluded that she gave a "wonderful performance." Mulligan was a recipient of the Shooting Stars Award from the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival and received a BAFTA Rising Star Award nomination, which is voted on by the British public.

Mulligan next starred in independent film The Greatest (2009) as the pregnant girlfriend of a boy who dies. Her involvement with the project helped it "tremendously", according to the director. After being selected to join The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, she won a British Independent Award for Never Let Me Go, an adaption of the 2005 Kazuo Ishiguro's novel, in which she starred and narrated. It was released in September 2010, competing against her other project, the Oliver Stone-directed film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Screened out of competition at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, it was her first major studio project. Later that year she also provided vocals for the song "Write About Love" by Belle & Sebastian.

Mulligan returned to the stage in the Atlantic Theater Company's off-Broadway play adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's Through a Glass, Darkly, from 13 May – 3 July 2011. Mulligan played the central character, a mentally unstable woman, and received glowing praise from reviewers. Ben Brantley, theater critic for The New York Times, wrote that Mulligan's performance was "acting of the highest order"; he also described her as "extraordinary" and "one of the finest actresses of her generation.",

Mulligan co-starred in the critically acclaimed 2011 neo-noir thriller Drive, directed by Danish filmmaker Nicholas Winding Refn. She was nominated for her second BAFTA award—Best Supporting Actress—for the film. Drive garnered a total of 4 BAFTA award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Mulligan began filming Steve McQueen's sex-addiction drama Shame alongside Michael Fassbender in New York in January 2011. Drive debuted at 2011 Cannes Film Festival and Shame debuted at 2011 Venice Film Festival, both to good reviews. Of her performance in Shame, Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers wrote, "Mulligan is in every way sensational."

She starred as Daisy Buchanan, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, in The Great Gatsby, which was released in May 2013. Mulligan auditioned for the role of Daisy in late 2010. While attending a Vogue fashion dinner in New York City in November, Baz Luhrmann’s wife, Catherine Martin, told her she had the part. In May 2012, Mulligan was a co-chair alongside Anna Wintour for the Gatsby-themed 2012 Met Ball Gala.

Mulligan stars in the film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel Far from the Madding Crowd with Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Michael Sheen for director Thomas Vinterberg and Fox Searchlight.

Mulligan starred in the June 2014 revival of the play Skylight with Bill Nighy and Matthew Beard, directed by Stephen Daldry, at Wyndham's Theatre in London's West End. It won the 2014 Evening Standard Theatre Award for Revival of the Year and was nominated for the 2014 Olivier Award for Best Revival Mulligan returned to Broadway when Skylight transferred in April 2015. Her performance as Kyra Hollis was received with critical acclaim and she has received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play.

She stars in Suffragette for director Sarah Gavron and screenwriter Abi Morgan, to be released October 2015.

Aside from acting, Mulligan was among the actresses who took part in the Safe Project—each was photographed in the place she feels safest—for a 2010 series to raise awareness of sex trafficking. She donated the Vionnet gown she wore at the 2010 BAFTAs to the Curiosity Shop, which sells its donations to raise money for Oxfam.

Mulligan became the ambassador of the Alzheimer's Society in 2012, with the goal of raising awareness and research funding for Alzheimers and dementia. Her grandmother suffers from Alzheimers and no longer recognizes her. She helped host and participated in the 2012 Alzheimer's Society Memory Walk and was one of the sponsored Alzheimer's Society runners in the 2013 Nike Run to the Beat half-marathon in London.

In 2014, Carey became an ambassador for the charity War Child; in 2014 she visited the Democratic Republic of Congo in this role.

Mulligan is married to Marcus Mumford, the lead singer of Mumford & Sons. They were childhood pen pals who lost touch and reconnected as adults. They married on 21 April 2012, a few weeks after wrapping production on the film Inside Llewyn Davis, in which they were both involved. They have a daughter, Evelyn Mumford, born in September 2015.

Carey Mulligan's movie credits include...

Year Movie Role
2005 Pride & Prejudice Kitty Bennet
2007 And When Did You Last See Your Father? Rachel
2009 The Greatest Rose
2009 Brothers Cassie Willis
2009 Public Enemies Carole
2009 An Education Jenny Mellor
2010 Never Let Me Go Kathy H
2010 Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Winnie Gekko
2011 Drive Irene
2011 Shame Sissy Sullivan
2013 The Great Gatsby Daisy Buchanan
2013 Inside Llewyn Davis Jean Berkey
2015 Far from the Madding Crowd Bathsheba Everdene
2015 Suffragette Maud

Carey Mulligan's television credits include...

Year Show/Series Role
2005 Bleak House Ada Clare
2006 The Amazing Mrs Pritchard Emily Pritchard
2006 Agatha Christie's Marple: The Sittaford Mystery Violet Willett
2006 Trial & Retribution X: Sins of the Father Emily Harrogate
2007 Waking the Dead Sister Bridgid
2007 Northanger Abbey Isabella Thorpe
2007 My Boy Jack Elsie Kipling
2007 Doctor Who Sally Sparrow
2014 The Spoils of Babylon Lady Anne York (voice)

Nominations/Awards won by Carey Mulligan include...

Year Movie Award
2009 An Education Best Actress
(Nominated)

Memorable Quotes

“I love love stories, I love acting in love stories, I like portraying love stories. So I suppose that's the romantic side of me, but I am quite practical.”

“[on Never Let Me Go (2010)] I read the book when it came out, and I always loved. I loved it first and foremost as a love story and about people who want very simple things from life and can't get them. Keira Knightley and I did Pride & Prejudice (2005) together and we've done lots of adaptations of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, where the author is not around to tell you if it's rubbish. And so this was sort of doubly intimidating, because we had Kazuo Ishiguro with us, and you want to be everything that he imagined when he wrote it.”

“I'm very rarely recognized in public. I go about pretty happy. It just gets heightened around the time you're releasing something like this ['The Great Gatsby']. And then people are suddenly very interested, but for a brief amount of time, which is fine.”

“The idea of not having any control over what you're doing is terrifying. I was never very rebellious. The one and only bad thing I've done is have a super-heroes party when I was 16.”

“I constantly watch people like Marion Cotillard or Cate Blanchett or Kate Winslet. I have a fear of being passive, and what I admire about all those actresses is that every choice they make is really strong. Even if they're playing something very quiet, it's visceral and bold.”

“There were older men who used to come in. One guy had a red Ferrari, and one night, when I gave him his check, he signed it 'Dinner?' I freaked out! I was definitely not Jenny; she was bolder than I was. She had more to escape from. -- on working at a pub and comparing herself to her character in An Education (2009).”

Did You Know

The first actor she met was Julian Fellowes, who came to talk at her school. She approached him, and he introduced her to casting director Jina Jay's assistant; at the time, they were looking for young unknown actresses to play the younger sisters in Pride & Prejudice (2005). It ended up being her first job.

Is close friends with Keira Knightley, having met on the set of Pride & Prejudice (2005).

Ambassador for the Alzheimer's Society; her maternal grandmother has suffered with the disease since 2000.

Did not learn to drive until she was age 23, and only learned to do so for the film Never Let Me Go (2010).

Was originally advised by Julian Fellowes not to become an actor and "Marry a lawyer instead". She later sent him a letter saying that she was serious about it and was invited to a dinner for aspiring actors.

Worked as a pub barmaid and studio runner between acting jobs.

Has starred in two films that recreate the year 1961: An Education (2009) and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013).

Carey Mulligan and Aaron Johnson in The Greatest (2009).
Mulligan in Agatha Christie's Marple (2006).
In An Education (2009).
Mulligan in And When Did You Last See Your Daughter (2007).
Mulligan in Brothers (2009).
Carey Mulligan in Far From the Madding Crowd (2015).
Mulligan in Inside Llewyn Davis (2013).
With Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield in Never Let Me Go (2010).
With Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby (2013).
In the background with Ryan Gosling in Drive (2011).
Mulligan in Shame (2011).
Carey Mulligan in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010).