Carey Hannah Mulligan (born 28 May 1985) is an English actress. She made her professional acting debut on stage in the Kevin Elyot play Forty Winks at the Royal Court Theatre in 2004. Her film debut was with a supporting role in Pride & Prejudice (2005), followed by roles in television, including Bleak House (2005) and a Doctor Who episode, “Blink” (2007). She made her Broadway debut in The Seagull in 2008, which won her an Ian Charleson Commendation Award.
Mulligan’s breakthrough performance was as a 1960s schoolgirl in the coming-of-age drama An Education (2009), for which she won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Her leading role in the dystopian romantic-drama Never Let Me Go (2010) earned her a British Independent Film Award for Best Actress, and she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performances in the action film Drive (2011) and the drama Shame (2011). In 2013 she starred in Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby, and the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis. In 2015, she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play for her performance in the Broadway revival of David Hare’s Skylight. In 2018, she starred in the crime miniseries Collateral and in Paul Dano’s directorial film debut Wildlife.
Mulligan has been an ambassador for Alzheimer’s Society since 2012, and an ambassador for War Child since 2014. She has been married to singer-songwriter Marcus Mumford since 2012; they have two children.
Mulligan was born in London, the daughter of Nano (née Booth) and Stephen Mulligan. Her father is of Irish descent and was originally from Liverpool. Her mother is from Llandeilo, Wales. Her mother is a university lecturer and her father is a hotel manager. Her parents met while they were both working in a hotel in their twenties.
When she was three years old, her family moved to Germany when her father was hired to manage a hotel there. While living in Germany, Mulligan and her brother attended the International School of Düsseldorf. When she was eight, she and her family moved back to England. As a teenager, she was educated at Woldingham School in Surrey.
Mulligan is married to Marcus Mumford, the lead singer of Mumford & Sons. They were childhood pen pals who lost touch and reconnected as adults. A few weeks after wrapping production on the film Inside Llewyn Davis, in which they were both involved, they married on 21 April 2012. They have a daughter, Evelyn Grace, born in September 2015, and a son, Wilfred, born in August 2017.
Her interest in acting sparked from watching her brother perform in a school production of The King and I when she was six. During rehearsals, she pleaded with his teachers to let her be in the play. They let her join the chorus. While enrolled in Woldingham School as a teen, she was heavily involved in theatre. She was the student head of the drama department there, performing in plays and musicals, conducting workshops with younger students, and helping put on productions.
When she was 16, she attended a production of Henry V starring Kenneth Branagh. His performance emboldened her and reinforced her belief that she wanted to pursue a career in acting. She wrote a letter to Branagh asking him for advice. “I explained that my parents didn’t want me to act, but that I felt it was my vocation in life,” she said. Branagh’s sister replied: “Kenneth says that if you feel such a strong need to be an actress, you must be an actress.”
Mulligan’s parents disapproved of her acting ambitions and wished for her to attend a university like her brother. At age 17, she applied to three London drama schools instead of the universities she was expected to apply to, but was not invited to attend them. During her final year at Woldingham School, actor/screenwriter Julian Fellowes delivered a lecture at the school on the production of the film Gosford Park. Mulligan briefly talked to him after the lecture and asked him for advice on an acting career. Fellowes dissuaded her from the profession and suggested she “marry a lawyer” instead. Undeterred, she later sent Fellowes a letter in which she stated she was serious about acting and that it was her purpose in life.
Several weeks later, Fellowes’s wife Emma invited Mulligan to a dinner she and her husband were hosting for young aspiring actors. It facilitated an introduction between Mulligan and a casting assistant that led to an audition for a role in Pride and Prejudice. She auditioned three times, and was eventually given the role of Kitty Bennet. During her late teens and early twenties, she worked as a pub barmaid and an errand-runner for Ealing Studios between acting jobs.
In 2004, at age 19, Mulligan made her stage debut in the play Forty Winks at the Royal Court Theatre in London. She made her film debut the following year in Joe Wright’s 2005 film adaptation of the Jane Austen novel Pride & Prejudice, portraying Kitty Bennet alongside Keira Knightley. Later that year, she won the role of orphan Ada Clare in the BAFTA award-winning BBC adaption of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, her television debut.
Among her 2007 projects were My Boy Jack, starring Daniel Radcliffe, and another Jane Austen adaptation Northanger Abbey starring Felicity Jones. She rounded out 2007 by appearing in an acclaimed stage revival of The Seagull, in which she played Nina alongside Kristin Scott Thomas and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The Daily Telegraph said her performance was “quite extraordinarily radiating'” and The Observer called her “almost unbearably affecting.” While in the middle of the production, she had to have an appendectomy, preventing her from being able to perform for a week. For her debut Broadway performance in the 2008 American transfer of The Seagull, she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, but lost to Angela Lansbury for Blithe Spirit
Her big breakthrough came when, at 24, she was cast in her first leading role as Jenny in the 2009 independent film An Education, directed by Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig and written by Nick Hornby. Over a hundred actresses auditioned for the part, but Mulligan’s audition impressed Scherfig the most. The film and her performance received rave reviews, and she was nominated for an Academy Award, Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe, Critics Choice and won a BAFTA Award. Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly and Todd McCarthy of Variety both compared her performance to that of Audrey Hepburn. Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers described her as having given a “sensational, starmaking performance,” Mulligan was the recipient of the BAFTA Rising Star Award nomination, which is voted on by the British public.
In 2010, she was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, That same year she starred in the film adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed novel Never Let Me Go with Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield. She won a British Independent Award for her performance. That same year she starred in the Oliver Stone-directed film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Screened out of competition at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, it was her first major studio project. Later that year she also provided vocals for the song “Write About Love” by Belle & Sebastian.
She returned to the stage in the Atlantic Theater Company’s off-Broadway play adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s Through a Glass, Darkly, from 13 May – 3 July 2011. Mulligan played the central character, a mentally unstable woman, and received glowing praise from reviewers. Ben Brantley, theater critic for The New York Times, wrote that Mulligan’s performance was “acting of the highest order”; he also described her as “extraordinary” and “one of the finest actresses of her generation.”,
Mulligan co-starred in two critically acclaimed films in 2011. The first being Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, with Ryan Gosling. The second film was Steve McQueen’s sex-addiction drama Shame alongside Michael Fassbender Both films were major film festival hits. Drive debuted at 2011 Cannes Film Festival and Shame debuted at 2011 Venice Film Festival, both to rave reviews. She was nominated for her second BAFTA award—Best Supporting Actress—for the film Drive which also garnered a total of 4 BAFTA award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. For her performance in Shame, she received critical praise as well as a British Independent Film Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2013, she starred as Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, which was released in May 2013. Mulligan auditioned for the role of Daisy in late 2010. While attending a Vogue fashion dinner in New York City in November, Baz Luhrmann’s wife, Catherine Martin, told her she had the part. In May 2012, she was a co-chair, alongside Anna Wintour, for the Gatsby-themed 2012 Met Ball Gala. In 2013, she also starred in Joel and Ethan Coen’s black comedy Inside Llewyn Davis alongside Oscar Isaac, and Justin Timberlake. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to rave reviews.
In 2015, Mulligan was praised for her roles in two acclaimed films released that year. She starred in Thomas Vinterberg’s film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel Far from the Madding Crowd with Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge, and Michael Sheen. As well as Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette with Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson and Meryl Streep.
In 2014, she starred in the London revival of the play Skylight with Bill Nighy and Matthew Beard, directed by Stephen Daldry, at Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End. It won the 2014 Evening Standard Theatre Award for Revival of the Year and was nominated for the 2014 Olivier Award for Best Revival. She followed the production when it transferred to Broadway at the John Golden Theatre in April 2015. The transfer was a massive success. The play won the Tony Award for Best Revival and she earned her first Tony Award Nomination as she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play.
In 2017, she starred in Netflix’s Mudbound, directed by Dee Rees. The film was met with critical acclaim. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 97% with the consensus reading, “Mudbound offers a well-acted, finely detailed snapshot of American history whose scenes of rural class struggle resonate far beyond their period setting.” The film earned four Academy Award nominations including Best Adapted Screenplay for Rees.
In 2018, she starred in Paul Dano’s directorial debut film Wildlife with Jake Gyllenhaal. The film was written by Dano and Zoe Kazan, and is an adaptation of a Richard Ford novel of the same name. The film debuted at the 71st Cannes Film Festival and received rave reviews from critics. The film has earned a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus reading, “Wildlife’s portrait of a family in crisis is beautifully composed by director Paul Dano — and brought brilliantly to life by a career-best performance from Carey Mulligan.” Mulligan received a Best Actress Nomination from the Independent Spirit Awards.
Mulligan stepped back into television with her steely performance as a detective inspector in Collateral, a BBC Two limited series, receiving plaudits from American and British critics. Mulligan praised showrunner Sir David Hare for seamlessly accommodating her pregnancy into the script.
Mulligan appeared off Broadway in the solo show, Girls and Boys at the Minetta Lane Theatre. The show was written by Dennis Kelly and directed by Lyndsey Turner. Her performance was praised with the New York Times calling it “perfection”. While promoting the show on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Mulligan described being injured while the curtain was going down. Bradley Cooper who was in the audience, visited her backstage and carried her to urgent care.
In 2017, Mulligan was cast as Gloria Steinem in the Dee Rees film, An Uncivil War.
Skylight London – Bill Nighy, Carey Mulligan and Matthew Beard
|2005||Pride & Prejudice||Kitty Bennet||Joe Wright|
|2007||And When Did You Last See Your Father?||Rachel||Anand Tucker|
|2009||The Greatest||Rose||Shana Feste|
|Brothers||Cassie Willis||Jim Sheridan|
|Public Enemies||Carol Slayman||Michael Mann|
|An Education||Jenny Mellor||Lone Scherfig|
|2010||Never Let Me Go||Kathy H||Mark Romanek|
|Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps||Winnie Gekko||Oliver Sone|
|2011||Drive||Irene||Nicolas Winding Refn|
|Shame||Sissy Sullivan||Steve McQueen|
|2013||The Great Gatsby||Daisy Buchanan||Baz Luhrmann|
|Inside Llewyn Davis||Jean Berkey||Joel & Ethan Coen|
|2015||Far from the Madding Crowd||Bathsheba Everdene||Thomas Vinterberg|
|Suffragette||Maud Watts||Sarah Gavron|
|2017||Mudbound||Laura McAllan||Dee Rees|
|2018||Wildlife||Jeanette Brinson||Paul Dano|
|2020||Promising Young Woman||Cassie Thomas||Emerald Fennell||Also executive producer|
|2020||The Dig||Edith Pretty||Simon Stone||Post-production|
|2005||Bleak House||Ada Clare||Main role (all 15 episodes)|
|2006||The Amazing Mrs Pritchard||Emily Pritchard||Main role (all 6 episodes)|
|2006||Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Sittaford Mystery||Violet Willett||Television Film|
|2006||Trial & Retribution X: Sins of the Father||Emily Harrogate||2 episodes|
|2007||Waking the Dead||Sister Bridgid||2 episodes|
|2007||Northanger Abbey||Isabella Thorpe||Television Film|
|2007||My Boy Jack||Elsie Kipling||Television Film|
|2007||Doctor Who||Sally Sparrow||Episode: “Blink”|
|2014||The Spoils of Babylon||Lady Anne York||Voice; 2 episodes|
|2018||Collateral||Det. Inspector Kip Glaspie||Main role (all 4 episodes)|
|2004||Forty Winks||Hermia||Royal Court Theatre, London|
|2005–06||The Hypochondriac||Angelique||Almeida Theatre, London|
|2007||The Seagull||Nina Zarechnaya||Royal Court Theatre, London|
|2008||Walter Kerr Theatre, Broadway|
|2011||Through a Glass Darkly||Karin||Atlantic Theatre Company, Off-Broadway|
|2014||Skylight||Kyra Hollis||Wyndham’s Theatre, West End|
|2015||Golden Theatre, Broadway|
|2018||Girls & Boys||Performer||Royal Court Theatre, London|
|Minetta Lane Theatre, Off-Broadway|
|2010||Belle and Sebastian Write About Love||“Write About Love”|
|2011||Shame (soundtrack)||“Theme from New York, New York”|
|2013||Inside Llewyn Davis (soundtrack)||“Five Hundred Miles” with Justin Timberlake and Stark Sands|
|2015||Far from the Madding Crowd||“Let No Man Steal Your Thyme” with Michael Sheen|
Awards and Nominations
|2009||Academy Award||Best Actress||An Education||Nominated|
|2009||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama||Nominated|
|2009||British Academy Film Award||Rising Star Award||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Leading Role||Won|
|2009||Screen Actors Guild Award||Best Female Actor – Motion Picture||Nominated|
|Outstanding Ensemble in a Motion Picture||Nominated|
|2009||Critics Choice Movie Awards||Best Movie Actress||Nominated|
|2011||British Academy Film Award||Best Actress in a Supporting Role||Drive||Nominated|
|2011||Critics Choice Movie Awards||Best Movie Supporting Actress||Shame||Nominated|
|2017||Screen Actors Guild||Outstanding Ensemble in a Motion Picture||Mudbound||Nominated|
|2017||Independent Spirit Award||Robert Altman Award||Won|
|2018||Best Femle Lead||Wildlife||Nominated|
|2015||Tony Award||Best Leading Actress in a Play||Skylight||Nominated|
|2008||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play||The Seagull||Nominated|
|2012||Outstanding Actress in a Play||Through the Glass Darkly||Nominated|
|2019||Outstanding Solo Performance||Girls & Boys||Nominated|