She may not attract the attention of the masses like her Hollywood contemporaries but that suits actress Carey Mulligan just fine
Carey Mulligan is on a roll and seems to have Tinseltown at her feet. After her role as headstrong Jenny in Lone Scherfig’s An Education landed her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress at just 24, Mulligan has had the keys to Hollywood, winning roles alongside Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender and a coveted lead as Daisy in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby with Leonardo DiCaprio, a role she nabbed from under the noses of Scarlett Johansson, Kirsten Dunst and Blake Lively, no less.
Yet somehow, the 30-yearold, who is married to musician Marcus Mumford of indie-folk outfit Mumford and Sons, believes she’s largely forgettable in person.
“No one ever recognises me,” she cries in delight, “which is helped by the fact that I have a totally forgettable face. Seriously, not once has anyone ever come near me in the pub, or in the supermarket. And I honestly hope it stays that way.”
Mind you the spotlight may turn on her more since speculation is rife that she is now expecting her first child with Mumford. Everyone loves a royal baby and she is becoming Hollywood royalty.
Sitting in front of me in a dark, shaded suite in London’s Soho Hotel, in a simple black top and faded jeans, her elfin features framed by a cute, shaggy bob, the actor is anything but forgettable.
Although there’s a simplicity to her beauty, an almost blank canvas that’s been remodelled again and again for films including Drive, Shame with Fassbender, Never Let Me Go and Inside Llewellyn Davis. So she may have a point. But there’s nothing forgettable about her screen presence where she once again stuns in her latest film, Far From The Madding Crowd. In a sumptuous retelling of the Thomas Hardy classic, last interpreted in the 1967 film starring Julie Christie, Mulligan is powerful and stoic, yet vulnerable as heroine Bathsheba Everdene, an independent penniless woman in Victorian-era Dorset who finds herself the heiress to a wealthy estate and is ultimately torn between three handsome suitors: the smouldering Oak (Matthias Schoenarts), reliable Boldwood (Michael Sheen) and flighty cad Troy (Tom Sturridge).
It’s a beautiful performance from a young star who got her big break after hounding Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes at a school presentation. He subsequently helped her land her first film role in Pride and Prejudice.
Evidently mild-mannered, and warm-hearted, Mulligan says she was born with an innate sense of ambition, one that has got her where she is today.
Next to be seen in period saga, Suffragette, with Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter, the star, who rarely speaks about her rock star husband, is a little more forthcoming when it comes to chitchat about meltdowns, red carpet nerves and falling for a bad boy.
Her latest role is, she says, incredibly relevant even though it happens to be a Victorian-era classic.
“Often I think these stories are very relatable at any time because there’s so many universal themes,” Mulligan says. “The character I play, Bathsheba Everdene, is a very modern woman for her time, very forward thinking, strongwilled and independent. And within that social context, that is completely unheard of the way she behaves in the story and I think that’s very relatable for women now.”
And what is Carey Mulligan looking forward to? Being on tour with Mumford and Sons, actually. They are touring the US during the northern hemisphere summer and she hopes to join husband Marcus.
“I always have fun with them on tour wherever we go so that will definitely happen at some point soon,” Mulligan says. “We always have fun.”
Carey Mulligan plays Bathsheba Everdene in
Far From The Madding Crowd.