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Tuesday, 17 February 2009

This fame lark is quite an education

Carey Mulligan has been turning heads. The 23-year-old London-born actress had a meeting with Warren Beatty in Los Angeles.

'It's surreal!' she told me. 'I was thinking: "I'm talking to Warren Beatty - what is going on?"'

When I spoke to Geoff Gilmore, the director of the Sundance Film Festival, and mentioned Carey's name, his eyes lit up. 'Where did she come from?' he asked.

Well, London, Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Wales - and Bleak House and Dr Who - is the short answer.

Harvey Weinstein called her the 'belle' of the festival, and her gamine beauty has been compared to that of a young Shirley MacLaine or Audrey Hepburn. She arrived in Park City, high up in the snowy mountains above Salt Lake City, Utah, with two films: An Education and The Greatest. And she's beyond sublime in both.

In An Education - written by Nick Hornby from Lynn Barber's brief memoir about class, sexual mores and education in the early Sixties (before they started swinging) in Twickenham - Carey plays a 16-year-old schoolgirl whose eyes are opened wider than is polite by an older Lothario.

Then, in The Greatest, which is a big weepie, she plays an American college student who is forced by circumstances to live with her boyfriend's parents, played by Susan Sarandon and Pierce Brosnan.

Carey has two other films due out this year, which explains why, whenever I bumped into her, she had a different hairstyles.

She went Jean Harlow-esque peroxide-blonde to play a Thirties flapper - a small role - opposite Johnny Depp's John Dillinger in Michael Mann's Public Enemies. 'I'm in a nightie, smoking a cigarette, playing a high-class hooker - and then Dillinger dumps me for Marion Cotillard,' Carey said with a laugh.

She was struck by the difference in scale of working on An Education, where every penny counted, to the set of Public Enemies in Chicago, where one scene might feature 300 extras, 50 vintage cars and enough food to feed a small country. 'You could eat anything you wanted, at any hour!' she marvelled.

Carey's a film festival virgin and was pleasantly shocked by the circus-like atmosphere.

'I've never had my photograph taken in the street before, other than when I've been with Keira. But it's happened here - although it hasn't got to a madness level,' she said, referring to the intense paparazzi attention on Keira Knightley, with whom she worked on Pride And Prejudice (Carey played Kitty Bennet). She also met Rosamund Pike on that movie and they're together again in An Education.

She has more movies to make this year, but next spring Carey hopes to return to the stage (she was in The Seagull at the Royal Court and on Broadway with Kristin Scott Thomas) in another Chekhov, Uncle Vanya, starring Ralph Fiennes and Ken Stott, and directed by Matthew Warchus.

When we chatted in Park City, Carey told me she felt jetlagged, even though she wasn't. 'It's like I'm out of my body and looking down, going: "What's going on?" '

What's going on? A star is being born, that's what.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

carey mulligan is very very very beautiful,sexy...

she is the best!

PD: Daniel