With the Oscar-nominated An Education and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Carey Mulligan has quickly become one of the most talked-about young British actresses.
In Shame the 26-year-old plays alongside Michael Fassbender whose performance of a New York-based sex addict has already won him numerous awards and a Golden Globe nomination.
It is his second collaboration after 2008′s Hunger with director Steve McQueen. Many now tip the Irish actor to be in the running for an Academy Award in 2012. Mulligan, who found herself at the centre of Oscar-buzz two years, believes her co-star fully deserves to be recognized.
“I think if there’s any justice then he ought to be. It’s so fully deserved and sometimes it doesn’t work like that though you know. I hope and I think you know it would be criminal if he wasn’t but you know at the end of the day the performance is there and people will see it and the people who matter will see it and that’s the best he can ask for.”
Fassbender made the leap to Hollywood when Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks hired him for their Band of Brothers World War Two television mini-series. He also appeared in such hits as X-Men: First Class, 300 and Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.
In Shame he plays Brandon, a handsome, 30-something executive living in New York whose only distraction from work is seducing women, masturbating at home or in the office and looking for sex on the Internet. The tightly controlled rhythm of his life begins to fall apart when his needy, dysfunctional sister Sissy (Mulligan) arrives for an unannounced visit.
For Mulligan, taking on the role of Sissy enabled her to dive into a new character, different from previous parts. Here she sings and for one scene even has to strip fully naked on-screen for the first time.
However, when asked, the actress said the biggest challenge on set proved to be her rendition of Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York, an experience she remembers as “terrifying”.
“The singing was pretty so exposing and I have a whole new level of respect for singers now because I’ve never, I never had to do it. I’ve sang on stage before a couple of years ago and then when I was a teenager at school but it had to be live. He didn’t wanna dub any of it and it had to be in one take so it was very it was a lot of sort of pressure and she wasn’t you know, he asked me if I could sing in the audition and I said ‘Yeah’ and he believed me and then I had to figure it out afterwards. So yeah, I had singing lessons and stuff but the first take that we did, my voice was shaking and I went flushed red you know.”

In comparison, filming a scene which shows Mulligan standing naked in the shower felt less unraveling.

“I thought I’d be a lot more nervous”, the actress admits, “but actually by the time we got there it sort of wasn’t—no one made a fuss it wasn’t sort a big deal, there was a very small crew and Michael was the only actor in the room and he was very sensitive and yeah, I wasn’t nervous in the end.”
Mulligan said the nude scene felt pivotal to her role.
“I just, it was such a great way of introducing her as a character because it was so it was everything about that being nude and that was all such a, it was perfect for saying who she was and she is someone who wants to be seen and she’s appealing to have her brother back and she’s trying to provoke him. It just made sense and so I think it was the way Steve and I talked about it before that in the end it just felt like the right choice and she wasn’t meant to look any kind of way, she was just meant to be unashamed really,” she said.

Despite the experience of filming a nudity scene Mulligan says she hasn’t become more body-conscious and sees her body shape more as a tool that helps form her on-screen character.
“It sort of varies from job to job”, the actress said.
“For (The Great) Gatsby which I’m doing at the moment it’s a lot more visual, and it’s a lot more sort of costumes and Daisy is meant to be an object of affection which I never really had to think about before cause all the rest of the characters I played it doesn’t really matter what they look like”, she continued.
“With Sissy, the minute I got that job I just thought ‘I can do whatever I like now’ because she doesn’t have to look good you know, she drinks and she eats what she likes and so it’s kind of role-specific.”
The actress said she has a healthy attitude to her body and doesn’t feel the urge to follow any specific diets.
“In my own life when I’m not working I’m sort of, I’m kind of more comfortable now then I sort of ever have been. I don’t really worry about it that much,” she said.