The Coen brothers’ Cannes Grand Prix-winning Inside Llewyn Davis picked up another award ahead of the coming Oscars season with victory in the best feature category at the Gotham independent film awards.
The Coens’ poignant and elliptical vision of New York’s 1960s folk scene, which stars Carey Mulligan, Oscar Isaac and John Goodman, was a fitting winner for a festival that began life as a celebration of indie film-making in America’s north east. The Coens will be hoping the film helps add to their collection of four Oscars next March.
The Gotham awards are not generally seen as an accurate bellwether for Oscars success, though two of last year’s winners (Moonrise Kingdom and Beasts of the Southern Wild) were nominated for prizes by the Academy.
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.
The first three stills of Carey as Bathsheba Everdene from her upcoming project Far From The Madding Crowd have been released online today and added to the gallery:
Film Productions > Far From The Madding Crowd (2014) > Stills
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.
Pathe has newly boarded Suffragette, the Film4 and BFI-backed Ruby Films drama, which will star Carey Mulligan.
Pathe will distribute the film in the UK and France and will handle international sales.
The film will be directed by Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane) from a script by Abi Morgan, who won an Emmy last month for her work on BBC drama series The Hour.
Morgan, who co-wrote sex addict drama Shame with Steve McQueen, previously collaborated with Pathe on Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady and co-wrote the screenplay for Gavron’s Brick Lane.
Pathe swooped this week on Suffragette, previously known as The Fury, which was with Focus Features until the recent shakeup at the Universal subsidiary.
Mulligan will play Maud, a character described by the production as a “foot soldier of the early feminist movement” who becomes radicalized and turns to violence as a route to change.
According to the production, the film “tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State.
“These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes, they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing. Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality – their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives.
“Maud was one such foot soldier. Her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller, it is also heart-breaking and inspirational.”
Last night Carey hit the red carpet at the BFI Film Festival for the Centrepiece Gala screening of her new film Inside Llewyn Davis, looking gorgeous in a bright and fun Dior dress. We have over 200 HQ pictures in the gallery – huge thanks to our good friend Nicole for all of them. Enjoy!
Public Appearances > 2013 > Oct 15 | “Inside Llewyn Davis” BFI Gala Screening