Shooting Star 2009 – UK
by Naman Ramachandran
For Carey Mulligan, from being student head of drama in school to debuting in the much-appreciated Pride and Prejudice [+see also:
film profile] (2005) was but a short step. She won favourable notices for her performance in the BBC television Dickens adaptation Bleak House and recently starred in Lone Scherfig’s An Education [+see also:
film profile]. She has worked with directors Jim Sheridan and Michael Mann in the upcoming Brothers and Public Enemies respectively.
Cineuropa: How did you begin acting?
Carey Mulligan: I first started when I was six years old. I played a tree, a dog and a child in "The King and I" in a school production and then went on to act all the way through school. I never acted professionally until Pride and Prejudice.
What was it like making a feature debut amidst a galaxy of seasoned performers?
Surreal at first but then a wonderful learning experience. I watched some of the actors I most admire for eleven weeks being directed by Joe Wright, who is such a brilliant actor’s director. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction into the industry.
The following year you did Bleak House, where you played Ada Clare. How was the transition from Austen to Dickens?
I felt that the characters were so completely different, Ada was more demanding in that her journey was a lot bigger. I have always felt that there’s no point thinking about the fact that you are doing a “costume drama” and wearing a corset. I try to think about them as women with stories to tell, regardless of when they were born. I grew up with Austen and Dickens and love them so it’s such a pleasure to work on them now.
On An Education you worked with director Lone Scherfig and the acclaimed Nick Hornby. How was the experience?
It was the best filming experience of my career. Lone is only interested in telling the story as well as we can, working with her is about the story and nothing else and she has an amazing sense of humour and passion for her work. We were so lucky as Nick is the partner of one of our producers Amanda Posey so we could call him up at 3am and talk to him about the script. I have read every single one of Nick’s books and was so happy to have got to work with him.
Jim Sheridan (Brothers) and Michael Mann (Public Enemies) - two directors on top of their game. Tell us about those two films.
They were totally different experiences - Jim is very interested in improvisation so nothing felt fixed, we played a lot with the scenes. Michael Mann knows absolutely what he wants from each scene and has a very clear idea of the final film from the beginning. They were both fantastic to work with and I’m such a fan of their films that I feel really lucky to have had the opportunity.
You have been chosen as the UK’s Shooting Star for Berlin 09. How does that feel?
Amazing. It is such an honour and I’m so excited to meet all the other Shooting Stars. I think it’s such a brilliant programme and I’m really grateful to be involved.
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