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The much misunderstood Daisy Buchanan was a product of her times, says Carey Mulligan, who felt real empathy for her character of the wealthy debutante in "The Great Gatsby" set in 1920s America and also "very grand" with the elaborate clothes and jewellery.
Daisy, the woman who has an affair with Jay Gatsby but then chooses to marry the rich Tom, is always decked up and never dresses down. No wonder Mullligan felt grand shooting for Baz Luhrmann's big screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel about the doomed relationship between Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Daisy.
"I loved wearing all of the jewellery and all of that stuff because Daisy and Tom (Joel Edgerton) are effectively royalty in their time. They're so wealthy and so wearing real diamonds really makes you feel like . it made us feel very grand," said Mulligan in a promotional interview.
Apart from real diamonds, the 27-year-old also wears a dress made of crystal beads connected by metal rings.
"That was an amazing dress. We call it the 'chandelier dress'. It's heavy and after a couple of takes, I'd take it off because it would sort of weigh down on my shoulders. But it was really wonderful," said Mulligan, who made her movie debut with the Joe Wright-directed "Pride & Prejudice".
Discussing her character in "The Great Gatsby", releasing in India Friday, Mulligan said the first scene of the movie shows Daisy "lounging in the sitting room" in a party dress.
"She's like a kid. She's got a huge wardrobe and she likes to dress up. She's always on show. The first dress you see her in is a fitted, strapless dress and then the whole of the bottom is covered in daisies and sort of puffs out," she said.
"And there's no reason for her to be in anything else because she's living in the movie of her own life. She's just constantly performing for people, covered in diamonds and having a wonderful time," she added.
If Mulligan loved looking like Daisy, she also empathised with her.
"She is very quickly villainised for the way she behaves in the novel, but I always had to empathise with the fact that she was a product of her time, that women in the 1920s were encouraged to marry for wealth," she said.
"She was a debutante, she was brought into the society and one of richest men in the country married her. And, of course, she would do that," she explained.
"Gatsby sort of lied about who he was and then disappeared, and she's left with. what? With people wanting her. And she chooses Tom. It's not the most romantic way, but it's probably the most practical and probably the one that she would have been encouraged to choose. In that sense, I think she was just making the savvy choice," said the actress, who hadn't read the book before auditioning.
She only knew the writer's name.
"I think it was about three days before the audition that I actually found out I was auditioning. I hadn't read the book, ever. I didn't really know much about it other than it was set in the 1920s in New York and it was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. So I read the book, read the pages of the script that they sent over, and then jumped on a plane, went to New York and was then in a room auditioning," she said.
The DiCaprio-Mulligan starrer is not the first film version.
There were several, the most well known being the 1974 film starring Robert
Redford and Mia Farrow.