The star of ''An Education'' on her first leading role


While shooting her first lead role opposite pros like Emma Thompson and Peter Sarsgaard, An Education‘s Carey Mulligan kept her wits about her — almost. ”The whole way through, I was fine. I didn’t have any moments where I freaked out,” says the London-born actress, 24, best known for supporting roles in movies (Pride & Prejudice) and British TV (Doctor Who). ”But for some reason, six weeks in, I suddenly lost it. Every decision I’d made in the whole film, I was questioning.” She needn’t have worried. Thanks to her feisty turn as a precocious, French-spouting schoolgirl, Mulligan is emerging as a top Best Actress contender. Now she’s playing Michael Douglas’ daughter in Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps (and hitting the gossip pages thanks to her off-screen relationship with costar Shia LaBeouf). In the meantime, she insists she’s different from her Education alter ego. ”Everyone seems to think that I can speak French,” she says. ”That would make me sound much more clever than I actually am.” Impossible.