STARRING: Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield
WRITTEN BY: Alex Garland DIRECTED BY: Mark Romanek
Four years ago, Carey Mulligan read Kazuo Ishiguro's acclaimed 2005 novel Never Let Me Go and felt like she'd been knocked sideways. ''I just loved it,'' she says. ''I remember thinking, 'If they ever make a film of this, I have to be in it.''' Luckily for her, Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) was a big fan of her Oscar-nominated performance in last year's An Education and cast her in the lead role of Kathy, a restrained woman who narrates the haunting story of British boarding-school students brought up for one mysterious, dark purpose (we won't spoil it here). ''I'd never played anyone who was so good at holding back her own feelings. I usually play emotionally articulate people who cry a lot,'' she laughs. ''So this was exciting for me.''
A human-scale drama with sci-fi leanings, Never Let Me Go explores how Kathy and her friends (played by Keira Knightley and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' Andrew Garfield) come to terms with their circumscribed lives. Both Knightley and Garfield lost weight to appear sickly for their parts, but the real challenge was making the lovely Knightley look like a plain Jane. ''It was difficult,'' Romanek admits. ''She was eager and happy to do it because the role called for it, but even at her worst, Keira still looks astonishing.''