EW You play one member of a Peter, Paul and Mary-esque folk trio in Inside Llewyn Davis. Did you feel up to the task of singing on screen?
Mulligan About a month before we started filming, the actors all got into the studio with [executive music producer] T Bone Burnett and Joel and Ethan [Coen], and we all recorded the music so they could pace out the film. A lot of people were already comfortable with music, but it was great for me so I could feel good by the time we started filming.
EW Did you do any live performances to hone your act?
Mulligan Oh, no, no, no! No! No.
EW So I take it you don’t have any plans to go out on tour as the opening act for your husband, Marcus Mumford?
Mulligan [Laughs] I think I’ll stick to acting.
EW Your movie husband is played by Justin Timberlake, another musician. What was it like seeing him work in a genre he’s not known for?
Mulligan He came in with a guitar and sat around with T Bone and the rest of the boys and just worked out the melodies and lyrics to these songs that they were half-devising and half-reimagining. I think his knowledge of music, and his brain, is really diverse, and he can really handle anything.
EW Your characters are usually pretty empathetic, but it looks like here you spend a lot of time yelling at Oscar Isaac’s Llewyn Davis.
Mulligan Yeah, definitely. She’s furious for most of the film. She’s pretty venomous and opinionated and outspoken and incensed by everything that Llewyn does. The first scene that we did was marching through [New York City’s] Washington Square Park with me screaming at Oscar. And that was definitely fun. I really enjoyed that.