A Q&A With Carey Mulligan

Mulligan plays Jenny, a '60s British teenager who grows up fast, in An Education. She spoke with Ramin Setoodeh.

What kind of education did you get while making this movie?
From Peter [Sarsgaard], I'm less of a nervous actor now. He doesn't get nervous. He doesn't mind making mistakes. He'll try anything, even if it's terrible. I used to be very camera-shy. I'd be nervous of trying some-thing unless I was sure it would work. I told Lone [Scherfig, the director] I'm a little phobic of cameras. If the camera comes toward me in a tracking shot, I'll look away. We had this whole joke that she would educate me on being camera-friendly. Even in the end, when the camera pans toward me and I had a plan to do a brilliant Billy Elliotmoment where I smile and the audience would love me, I look away right at the end. (Article continued below...)

Have you always been camera-phobic?
Yeah. Terrible. If you look at photos of me when I was a kid, I'm either pulling some horrible face or I'm not engaging.

Do red carpets make you nervous? Or the paparazzi?
Horribly nervous. The red-carpet thing is more of a problem. I had braces when I was a teenager and taught myself not to smile. I never deprogrammed myself from that. When they're shouting "Smile!" I get nervous. You don't want to see my smile.

Have you been recognized?
No. Twice in my life.

I was going on holiday. Keira Knightley and I stayed good friends after Pride and Prejudice. We went skiing. We were in security at the airport and I was standing next to Keira, and this woman comes up to me and says, "I know you." You know me?! Keira is right there. She's like, "How do I know you? Are you friends with my daughter?" I was like, "Uh, no." And the other time was when I was with the guy who was in Bleak House with me. It's never been on my own. But I never look the same on most of my jobs.

Are you on Facebook?
I left Facebook. People contact you and they're out of your life, and I don't know why they want to come back in. It's weird.