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Sunday, May 16, 2010
At age 24, she gained widespread recognition for playing the lead role of Jenny in An Education (2009), winning a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Additionally, Mulligan was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance. Following her breakthrough role as Jenny, the same year she appeared in the dramatic films Brothers and The Greatest. Mulligan's upcoming films include supporting roles in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the sequel to the 1987 film, and Never Let Me Go; both films have 2010 release dates. She is currently slated to appear in five films, all of which are in pre-production.
Early life and career beginnings
Mulligan was born in Westminster, London, England. Her father, Stephen, was originally from Liverpool, and her mother, Nano (née Booth), a college lecturer, came from Llandeilo in West Wales. Her great-grandfather emigrated from Ireland. Mulligan has one sibling; an older brother named Owain. At age three, Mulligan moved with her family from England to Germany after her father accepted the job of managing the European arm of Intercontinental Hotels. Due to her father's job, her family lived in "expensive hotels" for eight years. Mulligan stated that during her childhood she was "quite shy", and that until the age of fifteen she had been a "tomboy".Mulligan also acknowledged that she was "quite straight-laced" during her childhood and that she was very academic until she was fourteen, having then become more interested in acting.
Mulligan said her interest in acting sparked from watching her brother perform in a school production of The King and I. She said, "[My brother] was on stage and I was watching. And I started crying because I was too young to be in it, and they said, 'OK, fine, you can do it because you're Owain's younger sister.' And they put me in it. And from then on, it's all I've ever wanted to do." Mulligan said of her participation in school plays, while at Woldingham School, that, "I had wanted to act for a really long time, but other schools I had been to did not have such good drama departments. Everyone was so encouraging. You could do anything you wanted to, although you had to take it seriously. If you missed rehearsals, you were out." Since age fourteen her mother would take her to Broadway plays in New York, which made her develop an interest in theatre and eventually led to her accepting a role in the Broadway play The Seagull
Before she began acting professionally, she had once "secretly" applied to and been rejected by three drama schools specified on her UCAS application form. After failing yet another audition, the rejections made Mulligan question whether to pursue an acting career, and she went through what she called a "confusing time".Aside from rejection, she had also questioned an acting career due to her parents disapproval of pursuing a career in entertainment, remarking that her parents were insisting she attend university, preferably the University of Reading in England, believing that Mulligan's "desire would wear off". Around this time she had a brief time as a barmaid at a local pub In 2009, Mulligan stated that those negative experiences had a positive effect on her because it made her "realize just how much" she wanted to act. In 2009, she stated that when she was filming Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps in New York she began considering going to acting school, preferably Juilliard in New York, but that the decision was still pending. In November of the same year, Mulligan stated that her grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer's had been a strong influence on her, that if she ever does go to university, she would choose to study psychology to have a greater understanding of the disease.
Early work, 2004–2007
"I have no desire to make a big studio picture that says nothing. For me, it's all about script. I just don't see any point in doing things that don't interest me. And my agents have been really good in steering me away from the parts that are entirely generic. I love acting because it's challenging and it engages me at every level, so I'm not going to compromise those feelings to pay my tax bill - although I have in the past. For me, it may sound cliche, but it really is a passion so I will go after the roles I feel are worthwhile, and try to ignore the rest."
Mulligan on her choice of appearing in films
In 2004, when Mulligan was eighteen, she began her acting career after she won the role of Kitty Bennett in Pride & Prejudice, the 2005 film adaptation of the Jane Austen novel. Mulligan received the role with help from her school's headmistress, after writing to her explaining that she did not want to go to university and asked if she could help her get in touch with actor and screenwriter Julian Fellowes. After meeting Fellowes, he introduced her to a casting agent who was looking to cast an unknown in the film.That same year she appeared, as a recurring role, in the BAFTA award-winning BBC adaption of Charles Dickens Bleak House as one of the orphans, Ada Clare. Throughout 2006 she found work by appearing in the TV series The Amazing Mrs Pritchard opposite Jane Horrocks, as well as guest-starring in "The Sittaford Mystery", an episode of ITV's Marple, and playing Emily Harrogate in the Trial & Retribution serial Sins of the Father.
In 2007 Mulligan appeared in the film adaptation of Blake Morrison's memoirs of the same name, entitled And When Did You Last See Your Father?. Also in 2007, Mulligan appearing in one-off television dramas; she appeared with Daniel Radcliffe and Kim Catrall in My Boy Jack and she appeared in the adaptation of Northanger Abbey; both dramas were originally broadcast on the ITV network. Derek Elley, of Variety, described Mulligan's performance in And When Did You Last See Your Father? as strong and praised her for being "elusive". As well as appearing in the dramas, she also made a guest appearance in a two-part Waking the Dead episode, and played the main character, Sally Sparrow, in an episode of Doctor Who, entitled "Blink".
Mulligan rounded out 2007 by appearing in the acclaimed 2007 revival of The Seagull. Mulligan's performance, in which she played Nina to Kristin Scott Thomas's Arkadina and Chiwetel Ejiofor's Trigorin was praised by critics. The Daily Telegraph said her performance was "quite extraordinarily radiating'" and the The Observer called her "almost unbearably affecting". The Independent viewed Mulligan and her performance as having been "exquisite". For her debut Broadway performance—in the 2008 United States transfer of The Seagull—she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, in the category of "Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play"; but lost the award to Angela Lansbury.
Critical success, 2009
In 2009, she appeared in the film adaptation of Bryan Burrough's non-fiction book Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933–34. The film, Public Enemies, premiered along with An Education at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. She co-starred alongside Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, playing one of bank robber John Dillinger's regular prostitutes. Public Enemies was a commercial success, reaching blockbuster status with the worldwide revenue of over 200 million, although the film was not a critical success, receiving an unenthusiastic response from most critics. The same year, Mulligan appeared in The Greatest starring alongside Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon, playing the pregnant girlfriend of a boy who dies. In the film she briefly appears topless. After being screened at multiple film festivals, the film was without a distributor for a long period of time, until receiving a distributor in late 2009 which gave the film a release date in November 2009 internationally and a limited release in North America on April 3, 2010. S.T. Vanairsdale of Moveline.com described Mulligan as having delivered a "great American accent" in the film.
Mulligan also appeared in Brothers, the American remake of the Danish film of the same name, co-starring Natalie Portman. Mulligan, who described her role as a "small part", played the wife of a soldier who was forced to be killed by his Afghani captors in the film. The film was only released in North America and received mixed reviews from critics. In 2009, she appeared in her most notable role to date in An Education, in which she played the lead role of Jenny. Mulligan was twenty-two when she was cast as Jenny, who is sixteen in the film. An Education was released worldwide in October 2009, and at the film was given a limited release in North America and Canada. During the films limited release in North America, in its second week it received a wider release, playing on 317 theaters at the most. Despite the film receiving positive reviews (Mulligan included) the film performed poorly at the box office, making only $12.4 million. The film was more successful domestically; having made 10.4 million in North America compared to the international revenue of over 2 million.
Various critics praised Mulligan's performance in An Education. Lisa Schwarzbaum, of Entertainment Weekly and Todd McCarthy, of Variety both compared her performance to that of Audrey Hepburn, and Peter Travers, of Rolling Stone described her as having a "sensational, starmaking performance", while Claudia Puig, of USA Today felt that Mulligan had one of "the year's best" performances. Phillip French of Guardian.co.uk called Mulligan's performance "wonderful" and said she "exudes vitality." Peter Bradshaw, also of Guardian.co.uk, felt that Mulligan had given a "wonderful performance". Toby Young, of The Times UK felt her performance anchored the film, and said, "Her self-assurance is so pronounced that it seems to permeate the whole film, infusing it with authority." Young also stated that as you see her "skipping from scene to scene" that he felt that there is "no doubt that a star being born" commenting, "If she isn’t nominated for an Oscar I’ll eat my hat." Robert Hanks, of Independent.co.uk praised Mulligan for appearing to be "both childlike and middle-aged, and always appealingly curious." Her performance garnered her Golden Globe, Academy Award, Screen Actor Guide Award and Critics Choice Awards nominations as well as receiving a British Academy Film Award for her role.
Upcoming projects, 2010 to present
In September 2009, Mulligan began filming scenes for her role in the Oliver Stone directed film, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the film that co-stars Shia LaBeouf, Josh Brolin and Michael Douglas is a sequel to the 1987 film Wall Street. Mulligan stated that Stone had cast her in the film after seeing her performance in An Education. In the film, which has a mainly male cast, Mulligan has a supporting role as Winnie Gekko, the daughter of the protagonist Gordon and the love interest of Jacob. Mulligan, who has an English accent, had to speak with an American accent for her role. The film was set to be released theatrically on April 22, 2010 internationally and the following day the film would have been released to North America, but the release date was changed to a worldwide release on September 24, 2010.The film is set to close the 2010 Cannes Film Festival in May 2010.Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps will be Mulligan's first major studio film.
Mulligan reunited with her Pride and Prejudice co-star Keira Knightley and her An Education co-star Sally Hawkins in the forthcoming 2010 film Never Let Me Go. The film is adapted from the 2005 Kazuo Ishiguro novel. Never Let Me Go details around a trio that as children attended a boarding school, and as they become adults have to face a haunting reality.She is also contracted to star in a film version of the The Seagull and Warren Beatty's next feature film.In October 2009, Mulligan signed on to star in the upcoming film entitled The Beautiful Fantastic, the film is set to begin principal photography in May 2010. She was rumored to star in a 2010 West End revival of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, but plans fell through.
Mulligan has been dating actor and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps co-star Shia LaBeouf since August 2009. Mulligan and LaBeouf began dating after being introduced prior to filming by Oliver Stone, the director of the film they were working on. Mulligan acknowledged that she enjoyed her role as Elsie in My Boy Jack because she "could relate to her in every way", because in the film Elsie is vociferously opposed to her brother going to war, which is a similar feeling Mulligan had to her brother, who after graduating from Oxford University volunteered to serve with the Territorial Army in Iraq; he has since returned home.
Mulligan stated that skiing is her favorite pastime, but she chose to practice the sport less in fear of losing an acting job because of an injury, commenting: "I get more nervous of going skiing now...I don't want to go and break a leg and lose a job. So more walking now." In 2007, while in the middle of the run of the Royal Court production of The Seagull, Mulligan had to have an appendectomy; preventing her from being able to perform. Her anticipated recovery period was three to six weeks, but she was back on stage performing after only one week, although she couldn't wear a corset while in character because of her stitches from the surgery.
Year Title Role Other notes
2005 Pride & Prejudice Kitty Bennet Film debut
2007 And When Did You Last See Your Father? Rachel Minor role
2009 The Greatest Rose Supporting role
Public Enemies Carole Minor role
An Education Jenny Millar BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Austin Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
British Independent Film Award for Best Actress
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Hollywood Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
London Film Critics' Circle Award for Best British Actress
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Rising Star
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Critics' Choice Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Nominated — London Film Critics' Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated — San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Brothers Cassie Willis Minor role
2010 Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Winnie Gekko Supporting role (awaiting release)
Never Let Me Go Kathy Main role (post-production)
Year Title Role Other notes
2005 Bleak House Ada Clare Recurring role (15 episodes)
2006 The Amazing Mrs Pritchard Emily Pritchard Recurring role (6 episodes)
Trial & Retribution X: Sins of the Father Emily Harrogate Episode: "Sins of the Father: Part 1" (Series 10, Episode 1)
Agatha Christie Marple: The Sittaford Mystery Violet Willett Made-for-television movie
2007 Waking The Dead Sister Bridgid Episode: "Wren Boys" (Series 6, Episode 1)
Doctor Who Sally Sparrow Episode: "Blink" (Series 3, Episode 10)
My Boy Jack Elsie Kipling Made-for-television movie
Northanger Abbey Isabella Thorpe
Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2007 Constellation Award Best Female Performance in a Science Fiction Television Episode "Blink"
(Doctor Who) Won
2009 Berlin International Film Festival Shooting Stars Award None
Digital Spy Movie Awards Star of the Future
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play The Seagull Nominated
Alliance of Film Journalists Best Actress An Education Won
British Independent Film Awards British Independent Film Awards for Best Actress
Hollywood Film Festival Breakthrough Performance
National Board of Review Best Actress
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award
Toronto Film Critics Association Award
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association
Chicago Film Critics Association Award
Utah Film Critics Association
Houston Film Critics Society
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards 2009
London Film Critics' Circle Nominated
Best British Actress
San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Actress
Detroit Film Critics Society Awards 2009 Best Actress
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
Satellite Award Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
2010 Critics Choice Award Best Actress
British Academy Film Award Best Actress in a Leading Role Won
The Orange Rising Star Award None Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role An Education
Golden Globe Award Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Academy Awards Academy Award for Best Actress
Evening Standard British Film Awards Best Actress