written by Elise   |   Posted on 2017-11-27

C Magazine — A few months after giving birth to her second child, Carey Mulligan calls from London to talk about—well, what are we talking about? It’s late at night and her child is stirring and she’s lost her train of thought and suddenly she’s telling me I should watch Designated Survivor. The TV show, I say? “Yes,” she says. “Where everyone gets killed and suddenly Kiefer Sutherland is the president. It’s amazing.

This is not the first or last surprising tangent she’ll take in a wide-ranging and often very funny conversation in which she reveals she is wary of so-called “important” Oscar films, praises pro wrestler John Cena’s work in the comedy Trainwreck, and swears by clothing from The Row. When asked what her next film gets right about marriage, she says, jokingly: “Whew…struggle. The struggle is real.
It’s exactly the kind of thing you’d expect any parent with two tiny kids to say. And, for the record, Mulligan and her husband, Marcus Mumford, the lead singer of the wildly successful band Mumford & Sons, seem very happily married. It’s just that Mulligan has spent the last decade keeping the public at arm’s length, so even the tiniest hint of her home life feels like a revelation. […] Mulligan, 32, may not be chronicling her daily life publicly, but she’s definitely been thinking about the ride. Next year’s indie film Wildlife, co-starring Jake Gyllenhaal, is partly about infidelity, and the project spoke to her in surprising ways. “[The film] is less about their marriage and more about that moment in her life, that feeling of inertia. Like, she’s suddenly woken up in her 30s with a 14-year-old son and this marriage, and she can’t get a hold of where her life has gone.” She clarifies, speaking personally: “I’m very, very lucky. But I do sometimes go, ‘How am I 32 and I have two children and I’m married and I have a house?’


When she received the script for November’s Mudbound, which is in theaters and on Netflix—and may bring Mulligan and the streaming giant to the Oscar party—she was traveling in South Africa. The project, based on Hillary Jordan’s 2008 novel, tells the story of two families in rural Mississippi struggling to survive post-World War II in the South, and it tackles subjects like post-traumatic stress disorder, racism and women’s rights with an unflinching lens. It was also the exact opposite of what Mulligan hoped to do next. She was tired of period pieces, tired of corsets, and desperate to do something contemporary, once joking: “I wanted to hold a gun.
What changed her mind—what made her willing to relocate to New Orleans at the height of a steamy-hot summer with an 8-month-old baby in tow—was simply the chance to work with Dee Rees, a female director she’d admired out of Sundance, with a strong cinematic vision and a down-and-dirty shooting style. On Mudbound, the actors would have small, shared trailers that were miles away from set and mostly went unused as they sizzled in the blazing sun beset by mosquitoes. “We couldn’t retreat and go off into our own worlds and check our phones,” the actress says. “We were on this mad adventure. I’ve never been on a film where a snake wrangler was required to stop us from getting bitten. I like the pace of that filmmaking. I can’t bear sitting around and waiting.

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