Birthdate: May 28, 1985
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England, UK
Carey Mulligan (birthname: Carey Hannah Mulligan) is one of the leading female actors of her era, an artist who has displayed a remarkable range of intelligent roles, particularly since her breakthrough, Oscar-nominated performance in writer-director Lone Scherfig’s An Education (2009), with Peter Sarsgaard.
A determined young Mulligan landed a small but important role for her screen debut in the Joe Wright-directed version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (2005), and then was cast in another supporting role in director Anand Tucker’s And When Did You Last See Your Father? (2007), based on Blake Morrison’s memoir and starring Jim Broadbent, Colin Firth, and Juliet Stevenson, earned $2.7 million worldwide.
Mulligan’s first American movie—and her highest billing yet--was writer-director Shana Feste’s drama, The Greatest (2009), with Pierce Brosnan, Susan Sarandon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Michael Shannon, premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. Mulligan’s most commercially successful film at this early phase of her screen career was director Jim Sheridan’s American-made remake of the Danish-produced Susanne Bier and Anders Thomas Jensen drama, Brothers (2009), starring Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Sam Shepard, and Clifton Collins Jr., and grossing $43.5 million globally.
Mulligan’s prolific 2009 continued with a supporting role in director Michael Mann’s period crime movie about John Dillinger vs. the FBI, Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, and Stephen Dorff, and more than doubling its budget for a $214 million total take. Mulligan earned rave reviews and a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her first starring role in An Education (2009), grossing $26 million and establishing Mulligan as a bright young star.
Delivering great emotional rewards in director Mark Romanek and screenwriter Alex Garland’s version of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro’s masterpiece, Never Let Me Go (2010), Carey Mulligan co-starred brilliantly with the fine cast of Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield, Sally Hawkins, Charlotte Rampling, and Andrea Riseborough, premiering at the Toronto Film Festival.
Mulligan got the leading female role in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street spinoff for 20th Century Fox, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010), starring Michael Douglas, Shia LaBoeuf, Josh Brolin, Eli Wallach, Susan Sarandon, and Frank Langella, with a $138 million global take after a Cannes premiere.
Carey Mulligan delivered a robust and very different role displaying her fascinating range opposite Ryan Gosling in director Nicolas Winding Refn’s beautiful Los Angeles crime movie, Drive (2011), with Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Oscar Isaac, and Albert Brooks, premiering at the Cannes Film Festival where Refn won the Best Director Palme and grossing a healthy $81 million globally. Mulligan and co-star Michael Fassbender impressed critics and audiences with writer-director Steve McQueen’s British psychological drama, Shame (2011), winning the FIPRESCI best film award at the Venice Film Festival.
Mulligan had the plum role of Daisy Buchanan opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire in writer-director Baz Luhrmann’s version of The Great Gatsby (2013), which grossed a double-to-triple its estimated $105-plus-million price tag. Mulligan was cast opposite Isaac in the titular role of the Coen Brothers’ caustic folk music movie, Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), with John Goodman, F. Murray Abraham, and Justin Timberlake, grossing a modest $33 million.
Her next movie made a similar box office with Mulligan in the marvelous form in the fourth film version of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd (2015), directed by Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg and co-starring Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, and Juno Temple, earning $30 million for producer-distributor Fox Searchlight Pictures.
In another impressive period role, Carey Mulligan starred in the British drama about the 1912 battle for women’s right to vote, Suffragette (2015), with Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw, and Meryl Streep, with a global gross doubling the $14 million price tag.
Mulligan starred in writer-director Dee Rees’ Oscar-nominated (but commercially failed) drama, Mudbound (2017), with Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige, and Jonathan Banks, followed by the Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan film adaptation of Richard Ford’s novel, Wildlife (2018), in which Mulligan (nominated for an Independent Spirit Award) paired superbly with Jake Gyllenhaal, with the film world-premiering at Sundance and then at Cannes before earning a modest $3.7 million gross.
Nothing in Carey Mulligan’s body of work prepared audiences and critics for her black-comic lead performance (her second Best Actress Oscar nomination) in writer-producer-director Emerald Fennell’s feminist revenge comedy, Promising Young Woman (2020), with Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, Connie Britton, and Molly Shannon, grossing a fair $19 million and winning the Oscar for Best Screenplay.
Mulligan received a British/Irish Actress of the Year nomination from the London Critics Circle Film Awards for her performance in the Netflix-produced drama, The Dig (2021), opposite Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, Johnny Flynn, and Ben Chaplin. Mulligan starred in the highly topical drama revolving around the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal, She Said (2022), co-starring Zoe Kazan, and directed by Maria Schrader.
Another pair of Netflix productions for Mulligan was Spaceman (2023), directed by Johan Renck and starring Adam Sandler, Paul Dano, and Isabella Rossellini; and Maestro (2023), the Leonard Bernstein biopic with Mulligan co-starring opposite co-writer/producer/director/star Bradley Cooper. Mulligan delivered a rare vocal performance for the stop-motion animated film, Wildwood (date to be announced), with Mahershala Ali, Jacob Tremblay, Awkwafina, Angela Bassett, Tom Waits, and Richard E. Grant.
Carey Mulligan was born and raised in London with her brother Owain, by parents Nano (university lecturer) and Stephen Mulligan (hotel manager). Mulligan’s family moved to Düsseldorf, Germany when she was three. She and her brother attended the International School of Düsseldorf until Mulligan was eight. After her family’s return to England, Mulligan attended Woldingham School in Surrey, in southeast England. Mulligan developed a passion for acting, inspired by her brother performing on stage, and considered it her “calling,” despite her parents’ opposition.
Undeterred after being rejected by three London-based acting schools, Mulligan managed during the 2044 to 2006 period to be cast in stage productions at the Royal Court Theatre and the Almeida Theatre as well as multiple roles in TV series and miniseries and remarkably getting an audition for Joe Wright’s 2005 film version of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, eventually landing the role of Kitty. Mulligan has been married to Marcus Mumford, lead singer of Mumford & Son, with whom she was a pen pal as a child and then reunited as adults; the couple has two children, Evelyn and Wilfred Mumford. Mulligan’s height is 5’ 7”. Her estimated net worth is $8 million.
Causes: Carey Mulligan participated in the Safe Project, to raise awareness of sex trafficking, and served as an ambassador for the NGO supporting children victims of war, War Child.
Philanthropy: Mulligan has worked actively to raise funds for research to cure Alzheimer’s disease, which afflicted Mulligan’s grandmother for her last seventeen years.