‘Promising Young Woman’: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham & Emerald Fennell on Their Sundance Smash Hit

     January 30, 2020

Hopefully Promising Young Woman is on your radar after its big splash at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, but just in case you need to do a little catching up, we’ve got you covered! The film marks the feature directorial debut of Emerald Fennell who you might know as Camilla Shand on The Crown. She’s also got two Primetime Emmy Award nominations to her name thanks to her work as showrunner on the second season of Killing Eve. Now she continues to make a huge impression on the industry by writing and directing her very first feature film – a bold, vibrant and provocative dramatic thriller with an unforgeable performance from Carey Mulligan.


Image via Focus Features

She leads the film as Cassie, a “promising young woman” who wound up dropping out of medical school after something terrible happened. Year later, that incident still haunts her and leaves Cassie seeking vengeance so she spends her nights targeting men who think they’re the quintessential “nice guy” by pretending to be drunk and then putting them in their place. However, when Cassie reunites with an old med school classmate (Bo Burnham), she’s surprised to find herself reconsidering her routine in favor of the possibility of moving forward.

Prior to Promising Young Woman’s big debut in Park City, Fennell, Mulligan and Burnham all swung by the Collider Studio to talk a little bit about their experience making the movie. Check out the video interview at the top of this article to hear what Fennell had to say about getting her first feature off the ground, what it was like working with such an incredible ensemble, what it was like for Mulligan and Burnham to work with a director who’s also an experienced actor, and loads more! And, in case you missed it, click here to read Matt Goldberg‘s glowing review of the film. Promising Young Woman hits theaters nationwide on April 17th.

kia-supper-suite-marbl-toronto-logo-sundance-2020Finally, I’d like to give special thanks to our Collider Studio Presenting Partner, the Kia Telluride SUV, the 2020 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. Additional thanks to support sponsors Glenfiddich Scotch, Peroni Beer, Marbl Toronto, mou footwear, ic! berlin sunglasses and clothing lines, Laundry by Sheli Segal and Orginal Penguin.

Emerald Fennell, Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham:

  • 00:40 – What is Promising Young Woman about?
  • 01:14 – Fennell on why she wanted to make Promising Young Woman her feature directorial debut.
  • 02:25 – Did Burnham’s experience making Eighth Grade effect how he approaches offers to work with first time feature directors?
  • 03:30 – Did Burnham and Mulligan know each other before their first chemistry read?
  • 03:59 – What was the most challenging new thing about this role for Mulligan?
  • 04:59 – What were the questions Mulligan had for Fennell after her first read of the script?
  • carey-mulligan-promising-young-woman-nurse

    Image via Focus Features

    05:50 – We’re seeing a lot of movies that tackle toxic culture right now; what makes Promising Young Woman stand out?

  • 07:13 – Burnham and Mulligan on what it’s like working with a director who’s also an accomplished actor.
  • 09:03 – If they could learn more about one position on a film crew, what would they pick and why?
  • 10:35 – If Fennell could be a fly on the wall of another director’s set, who would she choose?
  • 10:55 – Promising Young Woman also features a phenomenal supporting ensemble; who surprised them the most with the work they delivered?
  • 13:00 – Burnham on when we might see him direct another feature.
  • 13:22 – Fennell on whether or not we’ll see more of Camilla and Charles on the next season of The Crown.

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