Carey Mulligan is “fed up” of only playing wives and girlfriends in films

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Sonya Barber
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Carey Mulligan has spoken out about the lack of leading roles for women in the film industry and explained why the small screen has better opportunities.

You’ll probably have noticed that many big names from Hollywood are making the move to the small screen, with female-led TV series dominating our essential viewing these days (we’re looking at you The Handmaid’s Tale, The Good Place and Big Little Lies).

It’s not just a passing fad, and Carey Mulligan is keen to explain why TV is attracting so many brilliant women right now.

Speaking to the BBC ahead of new BBC Two series Collateral, the star of Suffragette and The Great Gatsby criticised the film industry, saying that TV roles give her the chance to play a “fully rounded, flawed, interesting person”.

She said: “I think for the most of female actresses I know it’s just about going where the better writing is. Films have tended to provide a lot for men in terms of great leading roles and not so much for women.”

Carey Mulligan as Detective Inspector Kip Glaspie in Collateral

“I think it’s been led by the writing and the opportunities particularly for women,” she said, speaking about the wider trend for Hollywood actresses moving to the small screen.

“That’s certainly the case for me, I just want to play the most interesting, complicated real person and interesting complicated real people in film are really, really rare.

“I think essentially following great writing, trying to play real people and not play the girlfriend, the wife.

“I’ve done that a lot and it’s not fun and this is the opportunity to play a fully rounded, flawed interesting person.”

In four-part drama Collateral, Milligan plays Detective Inspector Kip Glaspie who is investigating the shooting of a pizza delivery man, starring alongside Billie Piper, John Simm and Nicola Walker.

Mulligan’s comments come shortly after Keira Knightley explained that she prefers to star in period dramas because of the prevalence of sexual violence in modern-day scripts.

“I don’t really do films set in the modern day because the female characters nearly always get raped,” Knightley told Variety

“I always find something distasteful in the way women are portrayed,” she continued. “Whereas I’ve always found very inspiring characters offered to me in historical pieces.” 

The release date for Collateral hasn’t been announced yet, but watch this space.

Images: Rex Features / BBC