Carey Mulligan: Why I 'felt like a chancer' early in my acting career

Actor did not go to drama school but her performance in Promising Young Woman is being acclaimed as among the best of the year 
Carey Mulligan: Why I 'felt like a chancer' early in my acting career

Carey Mulligan: The actor is in the running for top awards honours for her starring role in Promising Young Woman.  Picture: PA Media on behalf of So TV

Actor Carey Mulligan said she “felt like a chancer” early in her career because she did not attend drama school.

Mulligan, who is expected to compete for top honours during awards season for her starring role in Promising Young Woman, was rejected by a host of drama schools as a teenager.

The 35-year-old got her big break in 2005’s Pride & Prejudice adaptation which featured Keira Knightley in the lead role.

Mulligan, the cover star of Harper’s Bazaar UK’s March issue, told the magazine her lack of an acting education compelled her to do “loads of homework”.

She said:

I didn’t go to drama school, I kind of felt like a chancer, so I figured that I had to do loads of homework so that I was allowed to be here.

Mulligan, who has two children with musician husband Marcus Mumford, added: “The reality of my life now is that I have two kids under the age of five, and I’m lucky if I can learn my lines and show up.” 

Mulligan plays a woman out for revenge after her best friend is raped in Promising Young Woman, written and directed by The Crown’s Emerald Fennell. Her performance has been acclaimed as among the best of the year by critics.

Mulligan said the industry has realised audiences want to see complicated women on screen, pointing to TV dramas Fleabag and I May Destroy You as examples.

She said: "We are finally understanding that audiences want to see stories about women who aren’t necessarily always nice. You still root for them, you still care about them – it’s brilliantly done in Fleabag, and brilliantly done in I May Destroy You. Some of the stuff that both of those characters do is totally morally questionable and unpleasant, but you’re 100% behind them, the whole way through. It’s really fun to see people behaving badly.” 

  •  The March issue of Harper’s Bazaar is on sale from February 3.

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