written by Elise   |   Posted on 2017-12-22

VOGUE AU — […] With Collateral, written by acclaimed playwright, screenwriter and director David Hare, she was just six weeks pregnant when she was offered the lead part of the detective. Yet Hare, who she had worked with on the revival of his theatre production of Skylight when she was pregnant with her first child, barely blinked. “I wrote to him and said: ‘You’ll never guess, but I’m pregnant again. So can I do it pregnant?’ He said: ‘I don’t see why not.’” What’s more, her changing physical state barely altered the plotline for her character. “I loved that he didn’t rewrite my character, that he just didn’t make a fuss about it. It felt more real to life, because when you’re pregnant you do just go about your life.

Mulligan would know: tomorrow she is packing up the whole family and flying to LA to begin the promo tour for Mudbound. “It’s the same as when I had my daughter,” she says of her busy schedule. “We started press for Suffragette like three weeks after I gave birth to my daughter, so you just get back into it and it’s fine, because it’s not like filming, where you need to use your brain all the time. It’s much more about kind of showing up.” On the Vogue cover shoot, she brought along her son when he was just two months, breastfeeding between shots. “We had a really fun time; it was mad,” she says of the photo shoot, which sees her decked out in dramatic haute couture dresses on a rooftop in New York. “I was putting on sunglasses and wearing these absolutely enormous, crazy gowns. I like shoots when you can sort of disappear into it all.

When Mulligan and I meet, it’s during the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal; the subsequent #MeToo hashtag has been filling up everyone’s Twitter feed. Mulligan doesn’t do social media: “I was on Instagram, but I got rid of it, because I found myself just looking at other people’s babies,” she jokes, but like everyone else, she’s been caught up in the news cycle. “I mean it’s appalling, but I’m not surprised by a lot of the things coming out, which is a sad state of affairs, really.” Although she started out young, she says she feels like one of the lucky ones. “I know a lot of actresses, friends of mine, who have felt vulnerable, but I don’t think I ever have, in that sense.” She continues: “I have felt belittled and I think I’ve felt kind of lesser-than. I’ve definitely experienced sexism in terms of how I’ve been treated. When I’ve tried to assert my opinion on scripts, for example, I feel I’ve had to fight a bit harder to get my voice heard.” A self-professed theatre geek, Mulligan has been performing since the age of six and shakes her head at the suggestion that there was any other path she could have taken. “I never did any professional acting while I was at school, but acting was just my thing and I tried to do every extracurricular version of it,” she says, adding with a wry smile: “I was shit at sport. I mean, I was enthusiastic, but I was useless.


For her next act, Mulligan will return to the stage at London’s Royal Court in February for a five-week run of a new one-woman play by Dennis Kelly. This seems to me to be the final feather in her cap – the ultimate test for an actor to undertake, and she’s visibly excited by the opportunity. “It’s very rare to get a one-woman show: there’s more written for men and there aren’t that many written for women. I’ve only ever seen one, I think,” she says, happily. “I actually never thought it would come up.

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