Actress Carey Mulligan, 28, found early success terrifying, but has conquered her anxieties about the red carpet and going to parties.

The Coen Brothers’ much -anticipated new movie, Inside Llewyn Davis stars Oscar Isaac John Goodman and Justin Timberlake, a motley crew surely. It also stars Carey Mulligan as an angry folk singer, angry about the fact that she is pregnant, and angry about almost everything else in her life.

Last year the English actress married Marcus Mumford from Mumford & Sons. Aside from her stage role in Chekhov’s The Seagull at 21 years of age, Carey’s apprenticeship was spent in film adaptations of Pride & Prejudice, Northanger Abbey and Bleak House.

Mulligan became hot property when she was nominated for an Oscar for her role in An Education. She played Kathy H in the film adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, Never Let Me Go and was Daisy in Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby.  Compared early on to Audrey Hepburn and deemed something of an It girl, she has packed much into her 10 years or so of acting. But self-confidence in public has been hard-earned.

"I didn't really have as much fun as I should have done," she reveals in an interview in today’s The Guardian. "I found it all a bit terrifying. Now I don't get so nervous about standing on a red carpet and going to parties; I just get it done, whereas I used to be crippled by fear. Standing in front of a photographer was a nightmare. Now, as of last week, I’ve done a talkshow where I wasn’t freaking out. Usually I’m weird."

She also played a singer in Steve McQueen’s movie Shame, which dealt with sex addiction. The actress admits that she almost pleaded with McQueen. Asked why she so wanted her role in that celebrated film, she links it back to advice she got after Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, with Michael Douglas. 

"It was a great experience doing Wall Street, but it didn't feel there was a depth to the character. It didn't grip me in the way I wanted." Her agent took her out for lunch around then. "She said you shouldn't do anything unless you can't bear the idea of anybody else doing it." 

Despite being very much in demand, Mulligan remains somehow self-effacing and low key. “I don't have a public persona, " she tells The Guardian. "And when you go on those  (TV chat) shows, you have to present a personality, you have to tell the anecdotes, whatever, and I can't really."