Carey Mulligan dazzles Bo Burnham in new trailer for Promising Young Woman

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Carey Mulligan plays Cassie, an innocent-looking maneater with a scheme afoot in the new trailer for Emerald Fennel’s (Killing Eve, The Crown) new film: Promising Young Woman. Opposite Bo Burnham, Mulligan is a young woman with an enigmatic past, and it looks like her plot for revenge is about to get her into trouble.

Promising Young Woman follows several high-profile, female-led thrillers this season. I’d venture a comparison to Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers (get there in two steps: Scafaria is Bo Burnham’s partner) because it explores poignant issues of gender politics and a woman using a typically dangerous situation to her advantage. And of course, Fennel’s monstrously successful Killing Eve influence can’t be overlooked. 

From a lowly Denny’s waitress, Mulligan has had a few high profile roles in recent years. Since Far From The Madding Crowd, I’ve always pictured her as an actress drawn to more conservative roles, but her move towards a more confrontational role changes her trajectory completely. Promising Young Woman might be the opportunity she needs to explore a character she’s not inhabited before. 

With regards to her co-star, I can’t honestly believe that he’s been able to keep this concealed from his fans. After the super success of his directorial debut Eighth Grade (and it’s weird and well-documented Japanese distribution and press tour), he’s crossing back to the other side of the camera. It’s not the first time he’s been cast in this kind of role — after his YouTube career took off he appeared in a few shorts, Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous and an episode of Parks and Rec, his most iconic pieces are his standup specials: What. and Make Happy. I’ve written at length about his comedy and his film Eighth Grade, and Promising Young Woman looks to be a pleasing addition to his repertoire.  

The film certainly has all the right ingredients. I’m just hoping that it will come together and the providence of Cassie running into her old schoolmate won’t complicate things to the point of cliche. Rather, I hope we can just enjoy the ride. The official synopsis is as follows: 

From visionary director Emerald Fennell (Killing Eve) comes a delicious new take on revenge. Everyone said Cassie (Carey Mulligan) was a promising young woman … until a mysterious event abruptly derailed her future.  But nothing in Cassie’s life is what it appears to be: she’s wickedly smart, tantalizingly cunning, and she’s living a secret double life by night. Now, an unexpected encounter is about to give Cassie a chance to right the wrongs of the past in this thrilling and wildly entertaining story. 

 Produced by a powerhouse team that includes Margot Robbie, writer Fennel’s intriguing film is starting to create waves in fandoms across the Internet months before its theatrical run. After its run at Sundance, Promising Young Woman will arrive in theaters on Friday April 17, 2020. And one thing’s for certain: that “What are you gonna do?” is captivating.

Sian Francis Cox
Sian is Flixist’s UK Editor and has written for sites including Escapist Magazine, Destructoid, and Film Enthusiast.