Once the quietly bold, somewhat naïve teenage characters of “An Education” and “Never Let Me Go,” actress Carey Mulligan has swiftly altered course in the past few years and tapped into an inner rage—first as Michael Fassbender’s unsettled sister in Steve McQueen’s “Shame,” and now as the perpetually furious folk singer Jean in the Coen Brothers’ newest film, “Inside Llewyn Davis”. Her character has good reason (mild spoilers): facing the struggles of starting a music career in 1960s New York alongside a volatile affair with Llewyn (played by Oscar Isaac), Mulligan’s character is a cathartic, energetic flood of anger over Llewyn’s aimless nature, and a unique touch to the brilliant film that falls in line among the directors’ best.
Recently we got the opportunity to sit down in Los Angeles with the “Drive” actress, who also contributed her own vocals to the brilliant “Inside Llewyn Davis” soundtrack. She had just flown in from Dorset, fresh off Thomas Vinterberg’s adaptation of “Far From The Madding Crowd,” and in our talk she discussed Vinterberg’s approach to the period film, her shift in preparation when working with the Coens and also an update on Nicolas Winding Refn’s announced “all-female horror” film “I Walk With The Dead” (which recently received a new writer in precocious Brit playwright Polly Stenham).
In the script, Jean is described in her first scene simply as “a young woman.” How did you, the Coens, and possibly even Oscar build up Jean’s intense personality?
Well, you get so much of a sense of her from her dialogue. You understand that she’s a very close friend of Oscar’s character; they have a history, they’ve been friends for a long time, and you’re meeting them in the absolute worst week. I think you kind of understand the world that she’s in by the things that Llewyn says about her—the things that she doesn’t say about herself, the things she won’t admit to. She’s in a relationship with the wrong person—Justin [Timberlake’s] character—and the person that really knows her best is Oscar’s character. Everything else was just sort of fun to play with; I was trying to temper my anger in her scenes and the Coens just kept pushing to be more furious.
My audition tape was pretty extreme, anger-wise, and then when we got on set we just started playing with it. Ethan particularly thought it was hilarious, because in his mind I was always playing nice people, so he thought it was really funny that a 16-year-old schoolgirl would be playing someone quite so mean. But [The Coens’] are not big for the backstory. They don’t really sit you down and explain. John Goodman is always saying that he has no idea who his parts are or where they came from. I’m not like that at all; I generally tend to go into all of my projects with a huge scrapbook, and I spend months figuring out what I’m going to do—not planning necessarily, but feeling qualified enough. On this I had none of that. I was filming [“The Great Gatsby”] up until four days before I filmed this, so I walked straight off that onto this set and had no prep time. I just kind of winged it, and that was actually great for once. Not that The Coens wing it, but they just want people to get up and do it.
Carey Mulligan is poised to return to the West End in a new version of Patrick Marber’s play Closer.
The Great Gatsby actress has been in secret talks about the revival and insiders are already predicting it will be a huge hit.
The play is about the tangled relationships of two couples. It is not yet clear whether Carey will play Alice, an American stripper, or Anna, a photographer.
‘David Leveaux, who will direct the play, worked with Carey in New York in Through A Glass Darkly in 2011 and he’s very keen that she star in Closer,’ says a source.
‘Carey has been offered a lot of money. Advanced negotiations have taken place but she hasn’t confirmed officially. The whole thing is being planned for next summer.’
The play scooped the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play in 1998 and was made into a film in 2004 starring Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen and Jude Law.
Carey, 28, last appeared on the London stage in 2007 in The Seagull alongside Kristin Scott Thomas and Chiwetel Ejiofor, at the Royal Court.
She was also in The Hypochondriac at the Almeida in 2005.
Carey, who is married to Mumford & Sons frontman Marcus Mumford, is currently filming Far From The Madding Crowd with Michael Sheen and Tom Sturridge.
This year’s BFI London Film Festival will include screenings of Philomena starring Dame Judi Dench, a Charles Dickens biopic detailing a mysterious long-standing affair and the “untold story” of Mary Poppins, starring Emma Thompson.
Lasting 12 days, it will include appearances from Daniel Radcliffe, Sandra Bullock, Carey Mulligan, and Ralph Fiennes, with 234 features films and 22 world premieres in venues across the city.
The festival will open on October 9 with Captain Phillips, a thriller starring Tom Hanks based on the 2009 hijacking of US container ship by a crew of Somali pirates.
It will close on October 20 with Saving Mr Banks, the story of how Mary Poppins made it to the big screen starring Emma Thompson as author P.L Travers.
Inside Llewyn Davis, the latest Coen brothers film premiered in Cannes this year, will also be shown, starring actress Carey Mulligan and singer Justin Timberlake, along with Palme D’or winner Blue is the Warmest Color.
Writer Abi Morgan’s career is career is going from strength to strength, flitting between stage, television and films such as Shame and The Iron Lady. She has another politically charged script with with The Fury ready to go, and Shame’s Carey Mulligan is now in talks to take one of the lead roles.
From the sound of it, The Fury will also be something of a reunion for Morgan and Sarah Gavron, who directed Morgan’s first screenplay, the adaptation of Monica Ali’s Brick Lane.
Most of the details about The Fury are being kept quiet for now, though we do know it’ll be an ensemble piece that follows several members of the suffragist movement, which saw women fighting for the right to vote. Though Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst were the most famous examples of the movement, there are many stories to be told about the time, so we’d expect the new film to weave together several examples.
Focus Features and Film 4 are working together to back this one, but there’s no word on a start date yet. Mulligan will next show up in the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, which is out on January 24. Morgan’s next film will be Ralph Fiennes’ Charles Dickens film The Invisible Woman, due to be released on February 7.
The soundtrack to the Coen Brothers’ upcoming and already much buzzed about new film “Inside Llewyn Davis” will be released on September 17 via Nonesuch Records. Produced by T Bone Burnett, the folk-inspired album includes 12 songs performed in the film by cast members Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan and more.
“Inside Llewyn Davis” marks the Coens’ fourth collaboration with T Bone Burnett. His soundtrack to 2000’s “O Brother Where Art Thou?” nabbed five Grammy Awards including Album of the Year. “Llewyn Davis,” which will be distributed in the US via CBS Films on December 6, premiered at Cannes in May, where it won the Grand Prix. Starring Isaac, Timberlake, Mulligan, and Coen regular John Goodman, it’s a portrait of the folk music scene in 1960s Greenwich Village.
1. Hang Me, Oh Hang Me – Oscar Isaac
2. Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song) – Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford
3. The Last Thing on My Mind – Stark Sands with Punch Brothers
4. Five Hundred Miles – Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, and Stark Sands
5. Please Mr. Kennedy – Justin Timberlake, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver
6. Green, Green Rocky Road – Oscar Isaac
7. The Death of Queen Jane – Oscar Isaac
8. The Roving Gambler – John Cohen with The Down Hill Strugglers
9. The Shoals of Herring – Oscar Isaac with Punch Brothers
10. The Auld Triangle – Chris Thile, Chris Eldridge, Marcus Mumford, Justin Timberlake, and Gabe Witcher
11. The Storms Are on the Ocean – Nancy Blake
12. Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song) – Oscar Isaac
13. Farewell (never before released) – Bob Dylan
14. Green, Green Rocky Road – Dave Van Ronk
After years of faintly disastrous picks that meant the reputation of the Cannes opener was somewhat sullied, the festival, the world’s most prestigious, has stepped up its game in the last few years. Of the last four years, three of the Opening Night films — Pixar’s “Up,” Woody Allen’s “Midnight In Paris” and Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” went on to wide acclaim and success around the world (the outlier, Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood,” which kicked off the festival in 2010, not so much).
It remains to be see whether the 2013 opener matches their success, but it’s certainly going to be as high-profile as the previous films, as organizers have announced, per The Hollywood Reporter, that Baz Luhrmann’s eagerly-anticipated adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” will get the festival going on May 15th.
The film had been heavily rumored for the slot for some time: although it opens in the U.S. the week before, and in France on the same day, it’s the kind of prestigious, glittery launch that would do the film a lot of good on the international scene, as well as mirroring Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge!,” which opened the festival in 2001. It’s expected that the director, stars (including Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, and Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan), and Jay-Z, who’s behind the music for the film, will all attend.
Luhrmann commented “It is a great honor for all those who have worked on ‘The Great Gatsby‘ to open the Cannes Film Festival,” Luhrmann said in a statement. “We are thrilled to return to a country, place and festival that has always been so close to our hearts, not only because my first film, ‘Strictly Ballroom,’ was screened there 21 years ago, but also because F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote some of the most poignant and beautiful passages of his extraordinary novel just a short distance away at a villa outside St. Raphael.”
So is this a good sign for the quality of the film? Or perhaps just a star-studded stop on the publicity tour? It’d be more comforting if we find out that, as with “Moonrise Kingdom” last year, the film is also in competition at the festival, but that’s a relative rarity, and one that we’d be surprised was repeated this year. Still, it won’t be long til we find out how the film turns out; the film opens in the U.S. on May 10th. And worst comes to worst, we’re sure the afterparty will be something special…