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Mulligan gets Cannes education with 'Wall Street'

The Associated Press, Tuesday, May 18, 2010, 2:31am (PDT)

CANNES, France (AP) -- The education of Carey Mulligan continues with a trip to the Cannes Film Festival.

Coming off a breakthrough year with her Academy Award nomination for the British drama "An Education," Mulligan co-stars as the estranged daughter of a 1980s icon — Michael Douglas' corporate raider Gordon Gekko — in Oliver Stone's sequel "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps."

The "Wall Street" sequel premiered over the weekend at Cannes, the latest step in Mulligan's quick rise to worldwide celebrity. Though she has another film coming soon with good friend Keira Knightley, Mulligan is not rushing to cash in on her star status.

"I haven't worked since we wrapped `Wall Street,' and I don't have any plans," Mulligan, who turns 25 next week, said in an interview. "I'm just trying to find a cool part, and I don't want to jump into something that I've already done or repeat myself."

Mulligan was two when "Wall Street" came out in 1987, the film establishing financial viper Gekko as the face of 1980s greed. With Douglas returning as Gekko — an insider-trading parolee now broke and barred from trading — the sequel casts Mulligan as daughter Winnie, who wants nothing to do with her father.

Idealist Winnie Gekko works for a nonprofit Web site aiming to expose corruption. Yet she has not quite severed ties with Wall Street. Her fiance — played by Mulligan's real-life boyfriend Shia LaBeouf — is a rising star at an investment house who falls under his future father-in-law's sway while trying to bring about a reconciliation between Winnie and Gordon.

LaBeouf threw himself into research, learning the hustle of trading, spending time with billionaire investors and even making cold calls to potential clients. "Oliver wouldn't give me the job otherwise," LaBeouf said.

Mulligan had no inclination to follow her boyfriend on his Wall Street education.

"I've never had any interest in finance," Mulligan said. "Maybe if I'd grown up in a different family, but I probably regard it with a bit too much distaste to get involved."

To school herself in Winnie's idealism, Mulligan spent time with activists from such groups as MoveOn.

"I saw a really hopeful side. They make you feel bad because you put on a dress for a living, and they're trying to change the world," Mulligan said. "But I saw a really positive side of this. I wasn't in the financial world. I saw people that were trying to give, not take."

Mulligan's interest in acting began with school plays at age 6, which she continued through her teens. After school, she pursued a drama career, landing roles on the London stage and working in British television, including a memorable guest spot on "Doctor Who."

Her first film role came in Knightley's 2005 costume drama "Pride and Prejudice." Knightley and Mulligan have become close pals and reunited for the upcoming drama "Never Let Me Go."

"An Education" proved a star-making role for Mulligan, who earned a best-actress Oscar nomination playing a precocious teen involved with a man twice her age. Mulligan also had roles in Johnny Depp's gangster tale "Public Enemies" and the war-on-terror drama "Brothers," starring Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire.

Mulligan said one project she had wanted to do — playing Eliza Doolittle in a new version of the musical "My Fair Lady" — has "gone away for a while" and might not happen. It's a role in which Knightley also once had an interest.

"I think we're all aware that we're all reading the same things," Mulligan said. "She's eons higher up than I am. She's much higher. There's a chain of people that get offers before you do, and she's much higher in that chain. So I kind of think that if she rejects it, then I might get it. You never really know where you stand. Your agent doesn't ring-a-ding and go, `Well, five people turned it down, so what do you think?'"

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Online:

http://www.festival-cannes.fr/en.html

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