• Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2021: Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”

She first came to our attention playing the innocent Kitty Bennet in Joe Wright´s Pride & Prejudice. Then came the demanding and controversial Sissy, the wayward sister of a sex addict, in Shame, and those women trapped by systemic sexism, like the ‘60s schoolgirl seduced by an older man who almost ruined her life in An Education or the restless ‘50s mother, abandoned by her husband who has an affair with a rich man so she can support her son in Wildlife. Carey Mulligan never ceased to impress us. Now she has done it again. For her turn in Promising Young Woman, the actress has been nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama.
Born in London in 1985, Mulligan didn´t have an easy childhood. Her father´s job as hotel manager forced the family to move to Germany when she had just turned three. For eight years they lived in hotels thus forging in the youngest of the family an introverted personality. Although she had acted in school plays since she was six years old, it was at her return to London when she began to seriously consider dedicating herself to acting. She applied to three different drama schools but was rejected by all of them. She did not give up and finally, in 2005, her dream came true when she landed a role in Joe Wright´s Pride & Prejudice opposite Keira Knightley. Mulligan was 18 and her rise to the elite was meteoric, thanks to her participation in the TV series Bleak House and in David Hare´s compelling TV drama, Collateral. But it was her breakout role in the comedy-drama An Education (with which she achieved her first Golden Globe) that propelled her to fame. There she settled definitively as of one of the most sought-after actresses in the industry, delivering unforgettable performances in films such as Public Enemies, Wall Street 2, the wistful dystopian drama Never Let Me Go, Baz Luhrmann´s lavish take on The Great Gatsby followed by the neo-noir crime drama, Drive, and Steve McQueen´s provocative drama, Shame. She returned to the 60s in the Coen Brothers´ Inside Llewyn Davis. In 2015 she appeared in Far from the Madding Crowd, an adaptation of the celebrated work by Thomas Hardy and in the period drama Suffragette.
Her childhood dream of acting onstage came true in 2007 when she made her West End debut starring as Nina in The Seagull. The production then transferred to Broadway where Mulligan received even more critical acclaim. She returned to the stage off-Broadway in 2011 with Through a Glass, Darkly. Her performance was described as “acting of the highest order”. Back to the West End, in 2014, the actress led the revival of Skylight as Kyra Hollis. A year later, the play transferred to Broadway where Mulligan received a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a leading actress. She repeated the same experience in 2018 with the one-woman show of Girls & Boys. Dennis Kelly´s play had a sold-out run at London´s Royal Court Theatre before moving to Broadway where the actress took the audience on a journey that was provocative, gripping and gut-wrenching. “A devastating tour de force from Carey Mulligan”, cheered the critics.
Another tour de force is been her portrayal of Cassie in Promising Young Woman. A “promising young woman” is what Cassie was until she drops out of med school. Her life has never been the same since her best friend was raped in college. During the day, Cassie works at her friends´ coffee shop, but at night, and in order to deal with her grief she comes up with a plan: go out to bars and night clubs where she fools men into believing she is too drunk and helpless to defend herself from any guy who might wish her harm. Someone always does and when that happens, she teaches him a lesson he will never forget.
This unconventional premise is just the beginning of the audacious and caustically comic feature film debut from writer-director Emerald Fennell (this year a double Golden Globe nominee for Best Director and Best Screenplay). For the role of the cold, reserved, funny, wry and selfish Cassie, Fennell had only one name in mind, Carey Mulligan, one of her generation´s most respected actresses.
“What´s so great about the film is that it´s not didactic and that there are no proper villains, they are people who think they´re good people who are being told that, perhaps, they´ve done bad things or perhaps they´re not so good”, explains the actress who in portraying Cassie wanted to make sure that she plays her like a real person despite some of the wacky things she does. “I felt a very strong responsibility to do it right and to do it justice because this is an experience that so many people go through every single day”, she adds.
Mulligan had a polar opposite experience in her latest film, The Dig, the British drama based on the novel of the same name by John Preston. The actress plays a landowner in ‘30s England that decides to investigate a series of mysterious mounds on her country estate. “Is always nice to play something completely different from the last thing you have done. So, it was a great opportunity not only to work with Ralph Fiennes, one of our greatest living actors but, being British, it was exciting to do something that is based on historic true events that we all learnt in school, these historically important archeological excavations in Suffolk”.