Mulligan's parents disapproved of her acting ambitions and wished for her to attend a university like her brother. At age 17, she applied to three London drama schools, instead of the universities that she was expected to submit an application to, but did not receive a subsequent offer. During her final year at Woldingham School, actor/screenwriter Julian Fellowes delivered a lecture at the school on the production of the film Gosford Park. Mulligan briefly talked to him after the lecture and asked him for advice on an acting career. However, Fellowes dissuaded her from the profession and suggested that she "marry a lawyer" instead. Undeterred, she later sent Fellowes a letter in which she stated that she was serious about acting and that the vocation was her purpose in life. Several weeks later, Fellowes's wife Emma invited her to a dinner for young, aspiring actors that she and her husband were hosting to offer advice. The event facilitated an introduction between Mulligan and a casting assistant that led to an audition for a role in Pride and Prejudice. She auditioned on three occasions and was eventually given the role of Kitty Bennet. During her late teens and early twenties, she worked as a pub barmaid and an errand-runner for Ealing Studios in between acting jobs.