Q&A with Carey Mulligan: Fighting with Keira Knightley, working with Ryan Gosling and eavesdropping on moviegoers

Q&A with Carey Mulligan: Fighting with Keira Knightley, working with Ryan Gosling and eavesdropping on moviegoers

Carey Mulligan at the TIFF premiere for Never Let Me Go. (Image: Jeff Vespa/Wire Image/Getty Images)

In Never Let Me Go, she’s the plain, overlooked member of a love triangle (the others are real-life friend Keira Knightley and Andrew “New Spider-Man” Garfield), but off-screen, Carey Mulligan is a showstopper. The 25-year-old, who was a first-time Oscar nominee after last year’s TIFF hit An Education, walks into a suite at the Park Hyatt with a chic bleached-blond layered cut and TV-ready makeup that makes her look more like the movie star she is than the girls next door she usually plays. During a round-table interview, the London-born actress shows she a starlet with definite ideas about where her career is heading. Specifically, it’s heading into the role of a late-20s Latina in a Ryan Gosling movie. Maybe it’s better if Carey explains—the full interview, after the jump.

Having a friendship with Keira previously, how was it for her to be nasty to you?

She encouraged me to be nasty to her, actually … She turned around to me after the first take and was like, “Why are you being so nice? [Our characters] have grown up together. You’re not even that nice to me.”

Andrew Garfield told us it’s going to be quite some time before he watches this movie. Have you seen it?
I don’t watch a lot of it because, when I’m on screen, I go like that [bows head]. It’s difficult, because all I’m doing is ripping myself to pieces. It’s not torturous, but you come away from something and two years later you would do something completely differently than how you would have done it then.

How are you dealing with all the attention you’ve been getting? It’s only been a year since An Education.
I haven’t worked since Wall Street. All the Oscar stuff finished the beginning of March. We had three days in Cannes, and I did a photo shoot for Vogue. So March to May and Cannes was normal everyday life, then three days of “ahhh!,” then three days of posing for Vogue, and the rest of the time for myself. I’ve never taken off almost 10 months, but there were just [no roles] that I felt were dramatically different from stuff I had already done.

So you still don’t know what you’re going to be doing next.
Oh, I do! I got a job. I’m doing a film with Ryan Gosling called Drive. That role was sort of a late-20s Latina woman. But I so wanted to work with the director [Nicolas Winding Refn], I sort of went in and said, “What if it isn’t? What if it’s me?” So we’re sort of rewriting it.

Has there been a downside to the success you’ve had lately?
Not really. We were in Telluride this weekend, and I was in a gondola with a bunch of people who just literally walked out of Never Let Me Go, and they had no idea. They were chatting away about the film, what they liked, what they didn’t like, why didn’t [the characters] run away? No downsides. Really outrageous good sides!

Never Let Me Go opens in Toronto on Sept. 24.