Carey Mulligan hits back at Variety critic who implied she was not attractive enough for new role

The Editors
·2-min read
Photo credit: Carey wears Simone Rocha dress and De Beers jewellery, photographed by Richard Phibbs and styled by Miranda Almond
Photo credit: Carey wears Simone Rocha dress and De Beers jewellery, photographed by Richard Phibbs and styled by Miranda Almond

From Harper's BAZAAR

Carey Mulligan has called out a Variety critic who seemed to question her attractiveness in a review of her acclaimed her film, Promising Young Woman.

The review said that Margot Robbie, who produced the film, might have been a better fit for the role as she is apparently aesthetically better suited to a femme fatale character. The piece by Dennis Harvey read: “Mulligan, a fine actress, seems a bit of an odd choice as this admittedly many-layered apparent femme fatale – 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 blonde hair seems a put-on.”

Talking in a video series for Variety, Mulligan - who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in An Education - said that criticism should be "constructive" and that one's physical appearance shouldn't be a factor.

"It’s important that we are looking at the right things when it comes to work, and we’re looking at the art and we’re looking at the performance," she said. “And I don’t think that goes to the appearance of the actor or your personal preference for what an actor does or doesn’t look like – which it felt that that article did."

Although the actress said she wasn't personally slighted by the comments, she is worried about what it means it a broader sense. “I think in criticising or bemoaning a lack of attractiveness on my part in a character, it wasn’t a personal slight," she said. "It didn’t wound my ego, but it made me concerned that in such a big publication an actress’s appearance could be criticised and it could be accepted as completely reasonable criticism.”

Variety has issued the following apology: “Variety sincerely apologises to Carey Mulligan and regrets the insensitive language and insinuation in our review of Promising Young Woman that minimised her daring performance.”

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