Mulligan detects hope on the horizon

Wildfire star on pay parity and workplace etiquette

by Richard Mowe

Carey Mulligan in Cannes
Carey Mulligan in Cannes Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto, Getty Images

There used to be times when British actress Carey Mulligan was working on films where she felt her influence was not as strong as her male co-stars.

And at the beginning she felt she was just grateful for a job, never mind asking for pay parity.

Carey Mulligan: used to just  be grateful for a job, never mind asking for pay parity.
Carey Mulligan: used to just be grateful for a job, never mind asking for pay parity. Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto, Getty Images

Now she believes that Time’s Up and #MeToo have helped to improve the position for women in the business.

Like Jury President Cate Blanchett, however, she considers that there has to be more than mere talk. The recent action of London’s Royal Court Theatre (she appeared there recently in Girls & Boys) to make all employees read and sign off on a code of conduct, has met with her approval.

Putting in an appearance at the Kering Women in Motion sessions at the Cannes Film Festival she was quoted as saying: “Those kind of conversations are great, but it needs to be set in stone so that when you come into the workplace you know how to behave.”

Mulligan is in Cannes to support her new indie film Wildfire, director by Paul Dano (in the Critics’ Week selection) in which she plays a woman cheating on her husband. The actress pointed out that it is rare for women to be seen “failing” on screen. She suggested that these kind of gritty roles were normally the preserve of men.

She said: “I see her as someone who wakes up one day and realises a great deal of time has passed…and she’s never going to be 21 again.”

Would Mulligan like to turn to directing at some point in the future? “No, I’m definitely not going to direct anything, probably ever, because it’s so hard. I just don’t have the skill set for it, or the bandwidth.”

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