Carey Mulligan is returning to the New York stage this spring — and she’ll be losing her mind.
The elfin actress who shot to fame with the film “An Education” will star in an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s 1961 film, “Through a Glass Darkly.” The adaptation is to premiere off-Broadway starting May 13.
Mulligan, 25, will play an intense young woman harrowed by psychiatric illness who spirals out of control while on holiday off the coast of Sweden with her fidgety and much older husband, her novelist father and her callow brother.
“It’s an incredible descent into insanity. It’s horribly scary and I have no idea what I’m going to do,” she says by phone from Los Angeles, adding that the part was too meaty to give up.
“Everyone wants to play someone with a problem,” she says, laughing.
The play will mark a return to the New York stage for Mulligan, who made her Broadway debut in 2008 in “The Seagull” opposite Peter Sarsgaard and Kristin Scott Thomas when the play moved from London to New York. She says that was a dream come true and left heritching for more stage work.
“I’m more consumed by theater than I am by film,” she says. “I never set out really to be a film actress. I love it and I’m incredibly lucky, but I find it easier to throw myself into a play than film. I’m always much more self-aware and self-conscious when I’m doing film because cameras really freak me out.”
The new work — the only film that Bergman gave permission to be adapted for the stage — will be directed by David Leveaux and be produced by the Atlantic Theater Company.
The play will be staged at New York Theater Workshop in the East Village and will run from May 13 to July 3. The adaptation made its world premiere at the Almeida Theatre in London last summer, starring Ruth Wilson.
Before “The Seagull,” Mulligan had appeared on stage in London in “Forty Winks” by Kevin Elyot at the Royal Court Theatre in 2004, and in a production of Moliere’s “The Hypochondriac” in 2005.
Mulligan’s acting career got a big boost when she won the role of Kitty Bennet in “Pride&Prejudice,” the 2005 film adaptation of the Jane Austen novel. She is perhaps best known for “An Education,” for which she was Oscar-nominated as the daring London schoolgirl who gets mixed up with an older man.
Since then, she’s starred opposite Johnny Depp in Michael Mann’s crime film “Public Enemies,” as Gordon Gekko’s daughter in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” and in “The Greatest,” alongside Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon. She recently was seen in “Never Let Me Go” with Keira Knightley.
Though her film career is red-hot, the allure of the stage remained for Mulligan. She recalls recently watching her friend Zoe Kazan — her co-star in “The Seagull” — in the off-Broadway production of “Angels in America” and feeling envious.
“I walked away gutted that I wasn’t in a play,” Mulligan says. “I got to the point where I missed theater so much I’d go to plays and be distracted by how jealous I was.”
Before she can sink her teeth in the new theater role, Mulligan is scheduled to be in “Shame,” a small film with Michael Fassbender. And after “Through a Glass Darkly,” she will play 1920s socialite Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann’s forthcoming movie adaptation of “The Great Gatsby.”
The British-born actress now considers herself a New Yorker, having moved to the city around Christmas. “It’s thrilling. All I literally as a child wanted to do was be in a Broadway play and live in New York. I’m kind of on cloud nine,” she says.
Plus, being in New York will help with researching the role of a man woman.
“I’ll have a lot to draw from,” she says, laughing.