Carey Mulligan’s Hollywood Career Had a Very Unconventional Beginning


The big picture

  • Carey Mulligan's career in Hollywood began in an unconventional way, as she never received formal acting training at a drama school.
  • Mulligan's persistence and dedication to acting paid off when he made his film debut
    Pride and Prejudice
    and his television debut
    desolate house
  • Mulligan's career has developed rapidly, with notable performances in films such as
    An Education
    The great Gatsby
    Promising young woman
    and upcoming projects like
    . His talent and versatility continue to shine in various genres and mediums.

Carey Mulligan is a recognizable face in Hollywood, especially after his critically acclaimed roles in popular films like Promising young woman i The great Gatsby. She is known for her emotional sensitivity and complex performances on screen, where she has been successful not only on television and film, but also on stage. Displaying such a varied and impressive talent, it's hard to believe that Mulligan never received formal acting training at a drama school. In reality, his career began in a more unconventional way, with the help of the famous screenwriter and director Julian Fellowes leading to his debut role in Pride and Prejudice.

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Sparks fly when the lively Elizabeth Bennet meets Mr. Darcy, single, rich and proud. But Mr. Darcy finds himself falling in love with a woman below his class. Can everyone overcome their pride and prejudice?

Publication date
September 11, 2005

joe wright

Execution time
127 minutes

Main genre

Deborah Moggach

Focus characteristics

How did Carey Mulligan's Hollywood career begin?

When Carey Mulligan was 17 years old, she was already committed to her dream of becoming an actor, which encouraged her to apply to various drama schools in the UK. This was against the wishes of his parents, who would have preferred him to attend a university. Unfortunately, Mulligan was not accepted at any of the schools she applied to, where competition for the limited number of places on offer is usually fierce.

Undeterred by this, Mulligan maintained her desire to pursue an acting career. During this period, she worked as a barman in a pub and as a set runner at Ealing Studios, at which point she decided to write a letter to Julian Fellowes, proclaiming her dedication to the acting profession. Mulligan had previously spoken to Fellowes after a talk he had given at his high school, by which time the industry legend was already known for his work on the script for Gosford Park (2001). Fellowes then dismissed his passion and told the young Carey Mulligan to “marry a lawyer” instead of pursuing an acting career.

Carey Mulligan's persistence paid off

Undeterred by his comments, Carey Mulligan again tried to attract the interest of Julian Fellowes after she was not accepted into any drama school, where she wrote him a letter reiterating her passion for acting and asking for career advice. After several weeks, he received a reply. Fellowes and his wife were to host a dinner for like-minded young actors, directors and writers who had also written asking for his expert opinion. It was here that Mulligan was introduced to a casting assistant who was working on a new one Jane Austen adaptation That was Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudicestarring Keira Knightley like Elizabeth Bennet. Carey Mulligan eventually landed the role of Kitty Bennet, the shadowy younger sister of the bolder and more outrageous Lydia (Jena Malone).

Pride and Prejudice became Carey Mulligan's film debut. Although often overshadowed by the more important role that her sisters and others like Matthew MacfadyenThe work of Mr. The film's Darcy, Mulligan's Kitty is still memorable and likable, occasionally managing to steal the spotlight from Lydia's dominance. The role paved the way for Mulligan's career to blossom, where, later in 2005, she also appeared as Ada Clare in the acclaimed BBC adaptation of desolate house.

desolate house it marked Mulligan's television debut. Over the next few years, he delivered a series of memorable performances on the small screen. Especially in 2007, Mulligan appeared in the Doctor Who episode “Blink”, which famously features the Weeping Angels, one of the show's most memorable and terrifying threats. Mulligan's captivating performance as Sally Sparrow earned her a Constellation Award for Best Performance by a Female in the Science Fiction Television category, an indicator of her developing talent.

Carey Mulligan's career developed at a rapid pace

An Education
Image via Sony Pictures Classics

Carey Mulligan's star continued to rise as she landed the role of Jenny in the 2009 film. An Educationwritten by Nick Hornby. The film received widespread critical attention and Mulligan in particular was praised for her performance, winning a BAFTA in addition to receiving nominations for an Oscar and a Golden Globe. Since then, Mulligan's career has gone from strength to strength. It has appeared in numerous period pieces such as by Baz LuhrmannThe great Gatsbythe 2015 film adaptation Far from the madding crowd, i Sarah Gavron's suffragist. Mulligan has also had theatrical success in 2014 with a revival of the play skylightalso starring Bill Nighy i Mateu Barba. The play was critically acclaimed, receiving an Olivier nomination for Best Revival that year. Mulligan also received his first Tony Award nomination when the play moved to Broadway in 2015.

What movies has Carey Mulligan been in recently?

More recently, Carey Mulligan has starred in a number of blockbuster films alongside industry leaders. In 2018, she took on the role of Jeanette Brinson in the film wild faunathe directorial debut of Pau Dano, where Mulligan gives a typically sensitive and emotionally heavy performance. Notably, Mulligan also starred Esmeralda Fennellthe much talked about thriller Promising young woman in 2020 and to the biographical drama in 2022 she saidwhich dramatizes how real-life journalists al News from New York discovered the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Since his debut, Mulligan has consistently delivered memorable and moving performances in all of his roles, including 2023. teacher opposite bradley cooper who assumes the role of director and stars teacherwhich describes the life of the famous American composer Leonard Bernstein next to the relationship with his wife Felica Montealegre, played by Mulligan. The film also stars Maya Hawke, Sarah Silverman, i Jeremy Strong.


Carey Mulligan reveals the 'Maestro' scene that intimidated her the most

From the massive changes on set with director and co-star Bradley Cooper to the Steven Spielberg vision that inspired it, Mulligan shares it all in this Q&A.

Ultimately, Carey Mulligan's passion for acting ignited a dazzling career that's still going strong, where she wasn't fazed by the setback of not getting a place at a prestigious drama school. It seems that this has not hindered his career, which continues to grow with each new project. Mulligan consistently excels his ability to tackle a wide range of genres and mediums with an equal amount of poise and sensitivitya testament to his unwavering talent and genius as an actor.

Pride and Prejudice is currently available to rent or buy on Prime Video in the US



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