Carey Mulligan’s latest film, Far From the Madding Crowd, is based on a story that is over 140 years old. But her character will hit a note of familiarity with modern movie audiences, starting with her neame: Bathsheba Everdeen.
Yep, that “Everdeen.” Suzanne Collins, the author of the Hunger Games series, has said outright that she named Katniss after Bathsheba Everdeen in Far From the Madding Crowd.
“She’s a real contradiction,” Care Mulligan says of her character. “She starts the story saying that she doesn’t want [a man] and nor has she given it any thought. I was never that interested in playing the girl who starts the story looking for a husband.”
Carey Mulligan was particularly impressed with the fact that Bathsheba is independent. “I loved that in the first few chapters of the book she’s already turned down a marriage proposal from [Gabriel Oak] who is, in the film, a good-looking hunky man. She was just such a forward-thinking modern woman,” says Mulligan.
Films that show strong female characters who don’t just sit around talking about the men in their lives are in high demand nowadays. But the only place that seems to be comfortable with actually giving the public that storyline is comedy.
Carey Mulligan talks about Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids. These movies feature women as central, and not just in the orbit of some male. But she says that “there’s nowhere near enough” of that kind of material in the movie business right now.
When filmmakers try to do that, as Joss Whedon has tried to do with Black Widow the Averngers franchise, it seems as though the film industry doesn’t know what to do with it. So we end up with debates about whether being sterilized made Natasha Romanov a monster. We end up not giving her an action figure.
“The public have expressed a real desire and a hunger for female-driven stories in the way that they’ve gone to the cinema to spend billions on The Hunger Games, or Blue Jasmine,” Carey Mulligan says. “People do want to see great female stories, but it’s like the industry hasn’t caught up yet. It’s sort of limited to one enormous franchise or Cate Blanchett, who is extraordinary.”