Carey Mulligan worried she might kill Ralph Fiennes during 'terrifying moment' on set of 'The Dig'

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2 min read

Watch: Trailer for Netflix drama The Dig

Carey Mulligan feared being responsible for the death of Ralph Fiennes during the filming of a dangerous sequence on the set of Netflix drama The Dig.

Mulligan was tasked with manually scraping dirt from the face of her co-star when he was buried during shooting.

Read more: Mulligan says film sets are difficult for mothers

The 35-year-old star told the Daily Mail that filming the scene was “the most terrifying moment of my career”.

She added: “I was responsible for getting the soil away from his face. As the cameras came down, all I could think was: 'Don't let me kill Ralph Fiennes!'“

Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes in 'The Dig'. (Credit: Larry Horricks/Netflix)
Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes in 'The Dig'. (Credit: Larry Horricks/Netflix)

The upcoming film is adapted from a 2007 historical novel by John Preston, recounting the events of the real Sutton Hoo excavation in the late 1930s.

Several historic burial sites dating back to the sixth and seventh centuries were discovered on the property of Edith Pretty (Mulligan) by archaeologist Basil Brown (Fiennes), including an Anglo-Saxon ship.

Read more: Mulligan criticises system for Oscars voting

Mulligan said: “It's so unusual to see a female and a male character on screen where the relationship is just about a meeting of the minds — and the mounds! — and that can be really profound.”

Director Simon Stone’s movie pushed for realism and urgency, with set dressers burying treasure in order to capture organic reactions from the actors as they found the objects.

'The Dig'. (Credit: Larry Horricks/Netflix)
'The Dig'. (Credit: Larry Horricks/Netflix)

Mulligan said the movie showcases a remarkable and “special” moment in history, as excavators uncovered important artefacts in the period just before the Second World War changed everything.

She added: “They saved the burial ship from ruin, because not long afterwards, the grounds were used by the army and the mounds were flattened by tanks. They really did get it at the last moment.”

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The Dig also stars Stardust actor Johnny Flynn and Lily James, who was last seen in Ben Wheatley’s fresh take on Rebecca for Netflix.

The movie is due to be released on Netflix on 29 January 2021.

Watch: Mulligan discusses role in Promising Young Woman