Carey Mulligan is speaking out after a review of Promising Young Woman called her "a bit of an odd choice" for the lead role.
In the black-comedy thriller, Mulligan plays Cassie, a conniving former medical student who had a bright future ahead of her until a traumatizing event derailed her life, leading her down a road of revenge.
The 35-year-old star chatted with The New York Times in an interview published Wednesday about the film and the review from Variety that called her "a fine actress," albeit one who "seems a bit of an odd choice as this admittedly many-layered apparent femme fatale."
"I read the Variety review, because I'm a weak person," Mulligan said. "And I took issue with it. … It felt like it was basically saying that I wasn't hot enough to pull off this kind of ruse."
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The review went on to say, "Margot Robbie is a producer here, and one can (perhaps too easily) imagine the role might once have been intended for her. Whereas with this star, Cassie wears her pickup-bait gear like bad drag; even her long blond hair feels like a put-on."
"It wasn't some sort of ego-wounding thing — like, I fully can see that Margot Robbie is a goddess," Mulligan told the Times. But the mention of appearance at all "drove [her] so crazy."
"I was like, 'Really? For this film, you're going to write something that is so transparent? Now? In 2020?' I just couldn't believe it," the actress continued.
"We don't allow women to look normal anymore, or like a real person," Mulligan added. "Why does every woman who's ever onscreen have to look like a supermodel? That has shifted into something where the expectation of beauty and perfection onscreen has gotten completely out of control."
Promising Young Woman, with a scintillating trailer that dropped in October, was written and directed by Killing Eve's season 2 showrunner Emerald Fennell.
The critically acclaimed thriller, which Fennell produced alongside Robbie, 30, also stars Bo Burnham, Laverne Cox, Alison Brie, Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge, Max Greenfield, Sam Richardson and Molly Shannon.
The movie was originally scheduled to debut in April but, like many films, was pushed back due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Promising Young Woman hits theaters Friday.
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