“I didn’t love my work in ‘Gatsby,’” Mulligan says about the Baz Luhrmann spectacle that grossed $351 million worldwide. “I’m not sure if I slight kind of lost my way because I was intimidated by the scale of it. I think I might have been overawed by my experience and intimidated by the level of performances around me.”
She continued, “It was how big it was and how visual it was. I definitely felt there were fleeting moments where I really found the character and then I felt like I lost her a little bit. I’ve never been wholly thrilled about my work in it.”
Mulligan beat out every actress in Hollywood when she nailed an audition with Leonardo DiCaprio to play Daisy. “It was almost like this ‘America’s Got Talent’ casting thing around the role,” she says. “And then it was the expectation of playing the part.”
She crammed non-stop about the 1920s and author F. Scott Fitzgerald. “I love the character so much and I spent so much time preparing,” she says. “It might not have translated onto the screen. I think I let my own security get in my own way. In that respect, I wish I could do it again.”
On the other hand, it’s notoriously hard translating a Fitzgerald character into film. “It was just a tricky one,” Mulligan says. “Maybe I tried to put too many things in and they ended up blurring. And maybe I could have been more specific. I found the world so fascinating in Zelda and Ginevra King” — the socialite who is believed to be Fitzgerald’s muse — “and everything around F.Scott Fitzgerald and their relationship.”
Mulligan has a tendency not to watch her own films at the premiere. “I’m terrible and sitting through,” she says. She confesses she hasn’t seen the finished version of “Drive,” the 2011 favorite starring Ryan Gosling. “About a year later, I was on an airplane, and I was like, ‘F— it. I’m going to watch it because so many people really liked it,’” Mulligan says. “I got about 20 minutes in and the air hostess walk past me and I was on the screen, and I was like, ‘I can’t be the person watching my own film.’ So I turned it off and put on some other sh— film.”
Mulligan concedes that her experience with “Gatsby” may have led to her doing smaller pictures, where there’s a comfort of knowing the name of every person on the crew. “Maybe it made me a little more independent-film centric to try to find something more containable,” she says.
To read more about her new movie, “Mudbound,” directed by Dee Rees, click here.