See that tiny little seagull right there on Carey Mulligan‘s wrist? That tattoo is what helped the actress land her role opposite Michael Fassbender in Shame. As Carey tells it, she was instantly enamored with the role of Sissy and had to beg director Steve McQueen to give her the role. So she sat him down and talked all about how she felt Sissy was similar to another role she’d played and loved, that of Nina in the play The Seagull. And then she brought up the tattoo:
“So I said that to Steve, and I said, ‘I’ve been thinking about getting this seagull tattoo on my wrist as a reminder, because there’s this brilliant thing Nina says in Act Four when she comes back and she’s completely fucked up — she’s had a child with this writer and she’s lost the baby and she’s lived in abject poverty, and she comes back and she’s fraught but she’s got this clarity — and she says, ‘I know now that it’s not about fame or glory or all the things I used to dream about. It’s the ability to endure, to bear your cross and keep the faith. I do have faith, and when I think about my vocation, I’m not afraid of life.’ And I thought, That’s so sick! And it’s stayed with me, and when I told him about that little passage, he got excited and was like, ‘Yeeeah!’ and I’m like, ‘I’ll get a tattoo!’ and he’s like, ‘Great!’ So it was sort of raucous and I got a call a couple of hours later that he was offering me the job, and I think it was only because I told him I was getting a tattoo. I got the tattoo the following morning.”
Shame got an NC-17 rating and Carey’s turn as Michael Fassbender’s screwed-up little sister has got everyone talking, so it looks like that tattoo was the right move. Plus, it’s got nothing on the schoolgirl tramp stamp Carey got to land her An Education role.