MOTW: Carey Mulligan's Dramatic Rise to Fame

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An adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 Long Island-set novel, where Midwesterner Nick Carraway (Tobey MaGuire) is lured into the lavish world of his neighbor, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Soon enough, however, Carraway sees through the cracks of Gatsby's nouveau riche existence, where obsession, madness, and tragedy await. Also starring Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher & Joel Edgerton.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
May 9th, 2013

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MOTW: Carey Mulligan's Dramatic Rise to Fame

Carey Mulligan was born on May 28, 1995 in Westminster, London, England. Born into a middle class working family, Mulligan led a rather uneventful childhood. As a child, she lived briefly in Germany while her father managed a hotel. After returning to England, she attended school in Woldingham, where she served as the student head of the Woldingham School's drama department. Mulligan initially became interested in acting after seeing her brother's performance in a school production when she was just six years old. Several years later, she attended a professional theater production and became convinced that acting was her calling in life. Despite the objections of her family, she began applying to drama schools in London. She was rejected by three different schools but remained undeterred in her quest to become an actress.

After becoming acquainted with Julian Fellowes, an actor and screenwriter, she was invited to a dinner party hosted by Fellowes and his wife. The event proved to be just the break Mulligan needed to launch your fledgling acting career. She later auditioned for a part in a theater production of "Pride and Prejudice" and was awarded the part of Kitty Bennett. In order to supplement her income while pursuing her new career, Mulligan worked as a barmaid in multiple pubs. She also worked running errands for a local studio.

After appearing as Kitty Bennett, she won the role of Ada Clare in an adaptation of "Bleak House" on BBC, thus marking her official television debut. Mulligan's career quickly began to take off. By 2007, she had appeared in "My Boy Jack" and received a Constellation Award for her performance as Sally Sparrow in "Doctor Who." Mulligan also appeared in "The Seagull" in the end of 2007. Although she was out of the production for a week due to an appendectomy, she started off 2008 strong when the production was transferred to Broadway.

Mulligan had already been acting for several years when she finally received what would be her big break in 2009, when she landed the role of Jenny in the film "An Education." Scores of actresses auditioned for the part. However, it was Mulligan's audition that won over Lone Scherfig, the Danish director of the independent film. Both Mulligan and the film ultimately received rave reviews. Mulligan was later nominated for a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Academy Award for her performance in the film. She also won a BAFTA Award for her role.

Mulligan followed this success by appearing in a subsequent independent film in 2010, "The Greatest." In this movie, she took on the role of the pregnant girlfriend of a young man who ultimately dies. She was later chosen to join The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was also awarded a British Independent Award for her role in "Never Let Me Go." Mulligan kept quite busy throughout 2010, also appearing in her first major studio production when she took a role in "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," a film project directed by Oliver Stone.

By the following year, Mulligan was ready to once again return to the stage and appeared in an off-Broadway production of "Through a Glass, Darkly." Later that year, she also co-starred in the film "Drive," which also starred Albert Brooks and Ryan Gosling. After receiving critical praise for her work in the film, Mulligan received a second BAFTA nomination. In 2011, Mulligan also acted in the drama "Shame," which appeared at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.

Mulligan has several upcoming film projects, including starring with Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Great Gatsby." In addition, Mulligan will also return to work with the director of "Drive" for a new project, "I Walk With the Dead." She will also appear in "Inside Llewyn Davis" this year. Other upcoming film projects for Mulligan include a leading role in an adaptation of "My Fair Lady" as well as "On Chesil Beach." Mulligan is also slated to appear in a science fiction project, "Outback."

While Mulligan's career has certainly been attaining new heights, she has also been focused on her personal life. In April of 2012, she and the lead singer of Mumford & Sons, Marcus Mumford, were married in England. In 2012, Mulligan also agreed to serve as an ambassador for the Alzheimer's Society. This is a cause that is quite personal to Mulligan, as her grandmother suffers from the disease. Mulligan has also participated in a project that works to raise awareness of sex trafficking, the Safe Project.