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'" Mulligan herself can recall what she was like in her early days. "I didn't really have a proper relationship until I was 19. "I don't want to go and break a leg and lose a job. Might be worth getting down to Ladbrokes and placing that Oscar bet. I was kind of a loser." Then she did Pride & Prejudice and something shifted. So more walking now." If this suggests she's become more conscious of the position she's suddenly been elevated to in her profession, Mulligan thankfully still speaks about the industry with wide-eyed enthusiasm. Before that, she completed The Greatest, alongside Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon, which also bowed in Sundance when An Education did."It's about a family who lose their son," she explains."I started freaking out that if everybody hated it, it would be all my fault," she explains. What's more, the London-born Mulligan has become the centre of attention for her breakthrough role as Jenny, a 16-year-old schoolgirl who falls under the spell of an older man (Peter Sarsgaard) in 1960s suburban England."I had these anxiety dreams – very basic anxiety dreams – where Geoff Gilmore, the [former] director of Sundance put me in a car and made me leave for being disappointing. Already nominated for a British Independent Film Award for Best Actress, an Oscar nod is now a very real possibility (Ladbroke's make her second favourite at 5-1 to win Best Actress, behind Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia).Then she found out An Education was going to play at the Sundance Film Festival.
She used to walk on to every set and start crying – 'It's so beautiful! "I get more nervous of going ski-ing now," she says. Not only has a star been born – but one whose career looks to have a longevity few starlets ever achieve.In the UK, however, she will next be seen alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire and Natalie Portman in Jim Sheridan's Brothers.A US remake of the Danish film by Susanne Bier, it's been in post-production for some time.Then of course there are the inevitable Keira Knightley comparisons. Now retired, her father used to run the European arm of Intercontinental Hotels – which meant Mulligan and her brother Owen spent their early years at the International School of Düsseldorf. And from then on, it's all I've ever wanted to do." After boarding at a Rudolf Steiner school, Mulligan got her big break after writing a letter to Julian Fellowes, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Gosford Park. Being on a film set was mad." This year, she started dating her Wall Street 2 co-star Shia La Beouf, a further indication that Hollywood has begun to embrace her as one of its own.The pair first met on Mulligan's first film, Joe Wright's 2005 adaptation Pride & Prejudice, in which she played Kitty Bennett, sister to Knightley's Elizabeth. Her sibling was the first to start acting, in a school production of The King and I. Inviting her to lunch, he then introduced her to a casting agent who put her forward for Pride & Prejudice. "She was this 18-year-old who was working in a pub and had dreams of being an actor. While she recently admitted that she's still considering going to acting school, after walking past Julliard in New York, in reality the chances are slim when studios are clamouring for her. The food in America is so much better than it is in England. It was a completely different experience." While this may be put down to youthful exuberance, Mulligan is also capable of cool self-analysis, as she shows when asked to compare herself to her character in An Education. What I love about her is that she is so fascinated by everything.