Carey Mulligan: Audiences ‘want to see stories about women who aren’t…always nice’

Royal Garden Party

Carey Mulligan covers the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, mostly to promote Promising Young Woman and The Dig. I think this is more about her Oscar campaign for PYW, and I’m fine with that. Most actors have found ways to campaign for awards even in this bizarre pandemic year. Just because we think Carey is probably rolling her eyes at the thought of actually “campaigning,” we don’t know what she’s contractually obligated to do, and plus – she’s really proud of Promising Young Woman, and she wants to talk about the movie. You can read the full Bazaar interview here (the interview was conducted over Zoom). Some highlights:

Being home for a year after years on the road: “I’ve never been able to be part of a book club… Lots of people were learning to knit. I got knitting stuff at the beginning of lockdown and I tried it once, and was like, I don’t have f–king time to knit. I can’t do this. I can’t learn anything. I’m just going to keep the children entertained and then go to bed and do it again.”

Why she did PYW: “When the script came to my agent. I just didn’t know what to do with it. I thought, ‘Why would Emerald ask me to do this?'”

She used to do tons of research on her roles: “[It was] all qualification:– I didn’t go to drama school, I kind of felt like a chancer, so I figured that I had to do loads of homework so that I was allowed to be here.” Currently, things are a little different, she says, laughing. “The reality of my life now is that I have two kids under the age of five, and I’m lucky if I can learn my lines and show up.”

She hopes she’s part of a new wave of female storytelling: “We are finally understanding that audiences want to see stories about women who aren’t necessarily always nice… You still root for them, you still care about them – it’s brilliantly done in Fleabag, and brilliantly done in I May Destroy You. Some of the stuff that both of those characters do is totally morally questionable and unpleasant, but you’re 100 per cent behind them, the whole way through… I certainly didn’t feel any of this kind of activity for the first decade I was working.”

She thought Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine was a game-changer: In her view, a game-changing moment was Blue Jasmine, the 2013 Woody Allen film in which Cate Blanchett played the title role, winning an Oscar for her performance. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh, there’s loads of brilliant, complex parts being written for women,'” says Mulligan. But after that, things seemed to regress again: “It was like one step forwards, two steps back.”

[From Harper’s Bazaar UK]

Carey never says anything one way or the other about Woody Allen and his…severe issues, but Bazaar editorialized and was basically like “Woody’s problematic, etc.” All that being said, I sort of understood what she meant about Blue Jasmine, which I think was the last Woody Allen movie I saw? It was years ago, and Cate Blanchett played a character who was so unlikeable, it was kind of a revelation – “oh, you dislike this character and yet you feel compelled to watch her.” Men get those kinds of roles all the time.

Also, I like that Carey isn’t pretending that she had tons of time during the pandemic year at home. I don’t understand when people are like “how do I fill my tiiiiime during the pandemic??” Like, don’t you have sh-t to do already? Don’t you have work or hobbies or child-rearing or something?

Cover & IG courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar UK.

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10 Responses to “Carey Mulligan: Audiences ‘want to see stories about women who aren’t…always nice’”

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  1. Astrid says:

    I watched The Dig over the weekend and enjoyed it.

  2. Emily says:

    Promising Young Woman was such a good movie. Watching it made me angry though, because so much of the film, rang true. Also, any soundtrack featuring Stars is Blind is a winner in my mind.

  3. badrockandroll says:

    My isolation time filler was knitting while watching archaeology shows. There are tons of them, ranging from PBS serious to reality game show types to Hitler hiding in the Bermuda Triangle with the Holy Grail crap. I did not know that there was a movie about Sutton Hoo … must watch!

  4. Case says:

    Starting to watch shows and films in my teen years where women were allowed to be complicated and at times unlikable was a bit life changing for me, because I saw that so rarely and didn’t even know it was something I missed seeing.

    “I don’t understand when people are like “how do I fill my tiiiiime during the pandemic??” Like, don’t you have sh-t to do already? Don’t you have work or hobbies or child-rearing or something?”

    I feel this so hard. Adults should have no problem filling their time? I live alone and feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to work, relax, and do the household chores I’d like to get done. I’ve had endless projects and organization tasks. For a YEAR. And I’m still not done! Having a home to look after requires constant maintenance. I organize the pantry and three months later it needs a re-do. I haven’t been bored once.

    • chimes@midnight says:

      Case, my ex-husband literally cannot be at home. He can’t just read or watch something or just exist, he has to be social at least 15 hours a day or he withers. I can’t imagine how bad going cold turkey on being in public and surrounded by people would have been for him if he actually did it…… Some people just can’t handle it.

      • Case says:

        I have a lot of compassion for the extroverts among us who are struggling extra this past year. I’m an introvert and have a rich inner life — I have very few needs, socially, and am fine texting friends and having virtual movie nights. I work with folks who are extroverts and when we get on Zoom they can’t wait to unload. I (literally!) can’t imagine how hard that is.

  5. Daphne says:

    I agree that’s why I loved Wild and the adaptation. Also, Broken English. Dare I say ‘Girls’? That show gets a lot of criticism and hate, much of it warranted. However, as a millennial living in NYC with my college gfs a few years ahead of the show airing, the female characters are realistic to my experience. We were tone deaf and entitled and self-absorbed. Can you think of another show that had a scene where a female gets a UTI and is cursing in pain? I thought that was groundbreaking and unique. I appreciated seeing it as a frequent UTI sufferer.

  6. bitchyarchitect says:

    while I love Carey Mulligan- so disappointed that she was cast to play a 47 year old woman but Ray Fiennes was cast to play 50 something year old man. It’s especially infuriating because this movie is based on a true story and I believe Edith Pretty was in her mid-forties. Re-casting her as a very young looking woman is an erasure and promotes the myth that only young women have adventures/achievements. As I watch my female friends get fired as they approach their late fifties as their husband get promoted I find this sort of thing more and more infuriating.

    • Sidewithkids says:

      Ha. I feel ya but I honestly thought Carey Mulligan was 40. I thought her and Ryan Gosling were around the same age (prob b/c I love that movie Drive they were in together) and he’s 40. She looks it. She just has that sorta mature face. I had to look up her age and I see she’s actually 35.

  7. Alsf says:

    I am so sick of characters that are just nice and plucky. or nice and melt-down-y. I do like to watch ones that are more complex, the way most of us are.