Also Credited As:Carey Hannah Mulligan
|Carey Hannah Mulligan on May 28, 1985 in London, England, GB|
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Carey Hannah Mulligan was born on May 28, 1985 in Greater London, England, where she lived until the age of three when her family moved to Germany. At age six, Mulligan - the daughter of a hotel manager - began acting in school plays at the International School of Dusseldorf, playing mostly character roles and parts intended for men. Her high school years were spent at the Woldingham School in England, where she was the student head of drama and starred in several school productions like "Sweet Charity" during her final year. It was at boarding school where Mulligan came face to face with Julian Fellowes, the person who eventually paved the way for her landing her first professional acting job. Fellowes, famed author and Oscar-winning screenwriter of the mystery drama "Gosford Park" (2001), was a guest speaker at her school. The bright-eyed Mulligan sat down next to Fellowes after his speech and grilled him about an acting career. But instead of the words of encouragement she hoped to get, she was instead ill advised to marry a lawyer or an accountant and settle down.
While such remarks would have easily crushed a lesser individual's spirit, the determined young actress nonetheless kept following her dreams. She wrote letters to seasoned actors, the likes of Kenneth Branagh, asking for career guidance. She even wrote one to Fellowes that ultimately landed her a role as Kitty Bennet, the giggly and flighty little sister, in the 2005 film adaptation of Jane Austen's classic love story, "Pride & Prejudice" alongside Keira Knightley, Judy Dench and Donald Sutherland. While filming, Mulligan became fast friends with Knightley, who was at the time quickly making a name for herself as Hollywood's new "It Girl." The actresses teamed up again as childhood friends in the sci-fi drama, "Never Let Me Go," based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Mulligan parlayed her slow rise to fame with numerous roles on television and on stage, often portraying romanticized versions of a sister, daughter or cousin. She had a recurring role in the Charles Dickens' TV adaptation of "Bleak House" (BBC, 2005), starring as the orphan, Ada Clare, one of a pair of cousins embroiled in an endless lawsuit. Her moving performance in the television drama earned her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture or Miniseries at the OFTA (Online Film & Television Association) awards in 2006. Mulligan was convincing as the rebellious daughter of a supermarket manager-turned-prime minister in the BBC series, "The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard" (2006). A year later, she played Daniel Radcliffe's acutely sensitive sister in iTV's "My Boy Jack," the true story of author Rudyard Kipling and his wife's search for their son who went missing during WWII.
But it was her breakout role in the comedy drama "An Education," based on British journalist Lynn Barber's memoir and directed by Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig, which propelled Mulligan into A-list celebrity status at long last. Set in the pre-Swinging London of the 1960s, the film tells the story of Jenny, a 16-year-old overachiever at an elite London all-girls school who has her sights set on Oxford, as well as on David, a suave, jet-setting businessman twice her age (Peter Sarsgaard). Sarsgaard had previously worked with Mulligan in the New York production of "The Seagull" as Trigorin, Nina's lover.
After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews, "An Education" promptly introduced the dark-haired beauty to the rest of the cinema-going world. Suddenly, Mulligan was being touted as the "new Audrey Hepburn" and, as it turned out, a shoe-in for a Best Actress Oscar nomination. It was a career-making film for the British actress who stood out in a sea of blonde, leggy starlets due to a raw talent and her innocent but sexy retro look that was slightly reminiscent of pixie-haired beauties like Mia Farrow. With her beguiling eyes, deep voice, and adorably gamine personality, Mulligan effortlessly won over critics and filmgoers everywhere with her honest portrayal of a precocious young woman whose zest for life inevitably ends up the way of most adolescent romantic illusions. As expected, Mulligan began racking up award nominations by year's end, including Independent Spirit, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Academy award nods for her work in the film.
Mulligan's performance as the aspiring actress Nina in the 2007 Royal Court production of Chekhov's "The Seagull" was yet another showstopper. When the play moved to Broadway, Mulligan found herself living out her childhood dream. To add another feather in her cap, she received a prestigious Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play in 2009. Hollywood began to take a serious look at the young ingénue after "The Seagull." She had had a small, unmemorable role as a hooker in the epic gangster film "Public Enemies" (2009) starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale but things were shifting. That same year, she had a slightly bigger role opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, and Tobey Maguire in the war drama, "Brothers."
In 2010, Mulligan appeared opposite Shia LaBeouf in the Oliver Stone-helmed "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps," the sequel to 1987's "Wall Street." Their instant attraction did not go unnoticed by cast and crew, but unlike most fame-hungry celebrity couples, LaBeouf and Mulligan kept their relationship relatively low-key, even as the paparazzi followed their every move. In the film, she played a rabid anti-capitalist in love with a young trader (LaBeouf) who partnered with former Wall Street capitalist pariah Gordon "Greed is good" Gekko, the role made famous by Michael Douglas, who reprised his role in the sequel. Also that year came a leading role opposite Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield in director Mark Romanek's wistful dystopian drama "Never Let Me Go" (2010), based on the acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. Continuing her ascension, Mulligan went on to more projects with Hollywood's most promising leading men the following year. First, she played a young mother under the protection of Ryan Gosling's taciturn hero in director Nicolas Winding Refn's stylized neo-noir crime-drama "Drive" (2011). Months later, the actress was seen again as the free-spirited sister of Michael Fassbender's deeply-troubled sex-addict in director Steve McQueen's provocative drama "Shame" (2011), which unashamedly boasted a rare NC-17 rating.