Five Minutes with British Actress Carey Mulligan
Carey Mulligan stars in Mark Romanek’s film adaption of Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed novel, Never Let Me Go, which is less an observation on the unforgiving realm of science fiction, as it is a reflection on what it means be human. Mulligan plays Kathy, who alongside best friends Ruth (Kiera Knightly) and Tommy (Alex Garfield), grows up in a secluded English boarding school, slowly discovering what it means when others say “students of Hailsham are special.” NaÃ¯ve love, restrained love, tested love — all part and parcel to the remarkable story told in this film. (But a word of caution: one box of tissue may be conservative.)
The gamine starlette (in Elie Saab lace and Everlon diamonds) spoke to W after last night’s special screening at the Tribeca Grand Hotel.
When you were getting into this role, what trait in Kathy did you relate to the most?
Her stoicism. What I loved about her was her restraint. She defers to everybody else’s emotions and puts everybody else first; she only ever really allows herself to feel when everybody else is gone. And there is a real strength in that.
What quality do you admire most in someone?
A sensitivity is always something that I really admire. And someone who is generous — generous people really impress me. It’s also something I saw in Kathy; she has a generosity in spirit.
What was the most challenging aspect of playing this character?
It was probably trying to not play the heroine. Kathy’s not an innocent heroine; she is a flawed character. There is a darker side to her, a side to her that is bitter about her circumstances. And there has to be a sense that she’s not completely innocent and not completely perfect. She does have feelings; she just chooses not to vocalize them.
Is there a character you’re dying to play?
Somebody who has sort of out-and-out bad motivations. Not, out-and-out villains, but just someone whose choices are flawed, and for whatever reason treats someone badly. Maybe like Emily Blunt’s character in The Devil Wears Prada, whose social skills aren’t very well developed.
What keeps you inspired?
I look at work in retrospect. I do a film and look back a few years later and think, “Well, I would never made that choice now, I would have done something different.” The idea that your work is always imperfect, that there is always something you can improve upon. And in terms of sort of an actress that I aspire to be — to model my career on — I suppose someone like Cate Blanchett or Kate Winslet, people who make bold choices and don’t repeat themselves.
Is there something you are looking forward to doing this Fall?
I’m looking forward to being in New York. My best friend Zoe Kazan is in Angels in America. She is an incredible actress and this is a huge role for her; I want to see her nail it. I know she will.
A goal you’d like to accomplish by the end of the year?
I’d like to do a job! I haven’t worked this year, so I’d like to film something, but I am starting on Drive with Ryan Gosling at the end of this month. I think I’d just like to spend more time with my family and go home for a good old month and be in London.
You have aspirations to be on Glee. If Ryan Murphy offered you a guest role tomorrow, what song would you have at the ready?
Meatloaf, “I’d Do Anything For Love.”
“Never Let Me Go” is in theaters now.