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INT: Kirsten Dunst


Even since she played the adorably sadistic little vampire girl in INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE (at the young age of 11), Kirsten Dunst has been on the map. She's just now reaching her mid-twenties, and she's already got over 20 major motion pictures to her name. But it's only recently that she's gotten a chance to shine in some of the biggest movies ever made. I'm talking, of course, about the SPIDER-MAN franchise. She plays redhead Mary Jane Watson, the leading love interest to Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spider-Man). The big difference with SPIDER-MAN 3 though, is that it marks the first time we get to see MJ and Parker in a full-fledged relationship. You can see more of what I'm talking about when the movie hits theaters Friday, May 4 (you can read my review HERE).

We here at recently got invited to attend the SPIDER-MAN 3 movie junket in LA, where we met up with Kirsten Dunst and other well-known talent from the cast and crew. I'll admit, I originally wasn't too thrilled with the casting of Dunst as MJ for the first film, but she's warmed up to me since then. Part of this has to do with the pleasant manner in which she presents herself. This was especially evident when seeing her in person. She was nice, relaxed, and wholly confident. In fact, she even discussed that very topic, as well as how continuing work after being a famous child actress has affected the place in stardom she resides today. Read on to find out more.

Kirsten Dunst

Did you feel like this was the end of your experience with Mary Jane or do you see yourself being in 4, 5 and 6?

This is definitely the end to this trilogy. We've closed this chapter. But if Sam and Tobey and I were to come back together, we'd definitely do another movie.

This time around, were you just focusing yourself on the actress storyline and not worrying about the stress in the end or the special FX stuff going on?

On this one, they're finally together and she is successful in what she's doing, and he's been embraced by the city of New York and getting all these accolades. It's blown his head up a little bit. Slowly, we start to unravel Mary Jane, their relationship Ė they're already ignoring things within that Ė it doesn't help that he takes on this other darkness that envelopes his character, and brings out all the things he's not dealing with in his life all his anger really heightens that.

Could you get focused in your storyline and not think about, say, Sandman's story?

Oh, I just focus on what I'm doing. It's a surprise when I see the movie because I don't know what half of it's going to look like. I saw Thomas and I said, "Hey, we're in the same movie." We all had our separate lives and stories going on, which makes sense because that's what it's like in the film.

Did you enjoy singing?

I was just happy that she finally got a gig. Iíve always sang so it wasnít a big deal to me and I could pre-record it and then just listen to it.

Have you heard about the 'Spider-Man' musical?

Yeah, that's amazing. I heard about it today. That's the coolest ever Ė I mean, Julie Taymor directing? I was shocked, because usually when they do that kind of reinvention thing, they get a little cheesy. But that's incredible.

Would you like to do Broadway?

I could never sing live in front of big audiences. I couldnít do that. Iím not a Broadway actress. No, no, no.

Are you going to play Debbie Harry?

Yeah, but thatís very early, so itís too early to talk about it.

What about Mary Janeís unraveling? Problems she has are being ignored, but she doesn't really tell Peter.

But there wasnít really an opportunity as well. Also, thereís a responsibility in a relationship when someoneís doing something that theyíre really excited about, you donít want to put that on them that day. Thereís a time and a place. And then there was that other thing that happened with the keys to the city so it just kind of builds and builds and builds.

You and James Franco get to do the twist. Did you practice for that?

Oh, I can do the twist. Iím a big dancer.

Did you teach him?

We had to get together. I remember they brought me all the way down to like Culver City. I was like, "Why are we here? Oh, itís twist lessons. Are you kidding me? You brought me all the way down here to do the twist?" I mean, Iíve done it. Itís not the hardest dance in the world. So yeah, I did a twist lesson with James, helped him out a little bit.

Was it funny watching Tobey dance at the jazz club?

It was so funny and I had to have a reaction Ė kind of like, "Peter, whatís wrong with you?" Ė that I couldnít even have, because I just would laugh when he was dancing. I just couldnít help myself. Itís so ridiculous, I just couldnít deal with it. And I had to be in this kind of shock, like 'whatís-happened-to-Peter' kind of mode. And meanwhile, heís doing all these pelvic twists and thrusts and I just couldnít watch Tobey do it anymore. I was just laughing way too much.

Having done three of these superhero films, is it disappointing that you don't get to do superhero stuff yourself?

Honestly, I have absolutely no interest in being a superhero. I got to throw a cinderblock in this one, which was fine. That's enough action for me. If I were to do any superhero-esque film, I'd do some werewolf, avant-garde in-the-streets-of Paris or something. Remember that movie with the vampire...

'Interview with the Vampire'?

No Ė like I'm going to reference my own film and act like I don't know what it is Ė that would be so lame. [Laughs] No, it was called 'Lost Boys.' Something that's cool like that.

What about the 'Barbarella' remake?

No, I don't want to wear that outfit. That's too revealing. No, I donít want to be worried about being in a bikini during the entire film.

Are the acting muscles you flex in a comic book type movie like this identical to the ones you do in a regular drama?

Well, itís interesting because [for] Marie Antoinette, we hardly talked in that movie. It was a very sensorial way of working. And itís all about the way the fabrics felt and the way the food tasted and smelled and how the air felt. I never just concentrated so intently on just that. And then I realized after I made the film, you canít be too aware of yourself. And then when I start to work on 'Spider-Man,' I realized all these tools I had that I didnít realize before so it really... Yeah, all these films always change. You learn things on every movie and so it really helped me in this.

But you donít go over the top because itís a comic book movie? Itís exactly the same kind of acting?

For me, yeah. Except youíre in kind of fantastical situations. But I hope I didnít. I donít know.

Oh, I wasnít accusing you...

Yeah, I was like, "Did I?" I donít know. I mean it kind of gets sticky when you get into the blue screen stuff. I just forgive myself for bad acting when it comes to those things because if Iím good in that, then thatís just incredible because those things are hard to do. I mean I had no idea what was going to be in the film. So, yeah, and some of those lines are hard to pull off sometimes, too.

Is there anything you wish Mary Jane had gotten to do in these three films? Maybe you suggested it and it just didnít happen?

Yeah. I suggested that she shouldnít be in peril in the third one.

They didnít buy that, huh?


If you arenít going to do another one, have you and Tobey and Sam had that kind of, "Okay, this is over" moment?

No. No. Weíve just, no. We havenít had that moment.

Do you see it coming? After all this press is over?

Oh, no. Give us a little bit of time.

If Sam decides to come back, but Tobey doesn't, would you consider still doing a fourth film?

No. I wouldnít.

Do you think your Mary Jane should be with Tobey?

Tobey. Yes. Exactly. Hands down.

How different is Mary Jane in the three movies? And how different is Kirsten Dunst after six years of Spider-Man?

Well, for me, I think on the first movie I was so much younger, you know? I was so much more impressionable and insecure and so I didnít have the confidence that I do as an actress today. And like I cared what people thought and I was performing more for other people instead of myself. And weíve just grown up. Each film weíve just become more and more collaborative. And this last one has just been, three individuals coming together and as equal adults collaborating on a film. But youíre not that when youíre a teenager. You have to grow into that.

So you have no interest in being an action heroine, but is there anything you do in your life for excitement or thrills?

I mean, I like going to the movies with my friends. Iím trying to think... I love to travel. I love going to new places. I like going to Sunday night dinner. Iím not like an extreme sports person. I love going to the theatre. I love seeing bands play.

But you donít have the desire to put yourself in danger?

I guess Iím not an extreme sport lady. Although, my grandfather was a speed skater, bicycle racer who was going to go to the Olympics before World War II broke out. He was a really famous athlete. And my mom, like my dad, is always really into sports. So I have it in my genes. I just havenít exercised it.

Your new 'Sweet Relief' movie... How controversial do you think it will be given the subject matter?

Itís about a woman, you know. I donít think itís about Iraq. Itís about a woman. What in this 24-year-old girl makes you want to go to Iraq on your own without security and just be there, count bodies, visit orphanages, manipulate soldiers into getting information, all on her own accord. That takes a very brave and kind of a crazy thing to do. I couldn't put myself in that position. I couldn't imagine doing that. So I think it's more about this woman.

Youíve made that movie already?

No. We havenít made it yet.

That'll be your next project?


Do you know what your next film is?

Yep. Which is this movie called 'How To Lose Friends And Alienate People.' Itís based on Toby Youngís book. And Simon Pegg is the lead.

He plays the obnoxious Brit?


Are you the Vanity Fair writer in that?

Yeah. I work there.

And did the two of you have some romance?

Weíll just have to wait and see.

So, you're doing that this May?

May, June and July. Yeah.

You have a Mary Jane moment where she has this big opportunity and it falls to pieces Ė have you had a similar situation?

Of course, Iíve been so bummed when I havenít gotten a role. That happened when I was younger. Now Iíve learned that itís probably for the best for some reason in my life. But when I was younger, yeah, of course.

What about critics?

Critics. Iíve definitely been disappointed, like I usually have read the New York Times and LA Times and Iíve been disappointed before, but now Iím in a place in my life where I really donít care, so thatís a good feeling. I donít let those things affect me anymore. I donít read the crap anymore. It's not part of my life and so it just Iím not worried about what people say or write about me. I respect them and, you know, Iím not saying that I donít value what they do, Iím just not going to personally invite that into my feelings about myself.

Outside of the movies, do you have a chance to be friends with Sam, Tobey, and James?

Yeah. James is part of my life because I introduced him to this charity I work with called The Art of Elysium and we put on plays and just visit the hospital Ė and this one particular hospital called All Saints Ė and do auctions. And so I got him involved with that and then Bryce [Dallas Howard] and I have become really close. So those are the two people I see the most. But when I see Tobey, itís great. But he's just had a baby and so... but I love his fiancťe.

Tobey just had a baby. Bryce just had a baby. What are you feeling?

I donít know yet. I definitely want to have children. You know, weíll see.

You talked about traveling. Would you think about doing possible charity work in Africa?

Yeah. Well, Iíve been involved with Bonoís charity before. So I would completely, if I was going to go to Africa, I wouldnít just stay in some fancy hotel. Like that would feel totally awkward and weird to me, so of course Iíd want to do it on a level where I can appreciate and be a celebrity face if that gets attention to certain causes.

Tobey Maguire mentioned the differences between the 'Spider-Man' fans in Japan and the fans here. Do you think American fans are a lot different than Japanese fans?

Yeah, the Japanese are very excited about us. But also theyíre more demure... They either Ė I went to Universal Studios because we had to open some attraction there and they had this girl scream like I was a rock star. And I was like, "Calm down. Itís okay." But at the premiere, theyíre very mellow. Even when youíre in big crowds, you feel like you have your own space. Theyíre very respectful of peopleís spaces.

Who brings out that kind of fan in you?

Oh, Joni Mitchell. But I wouldnít scream in her face. Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, who else? Barack Obama, I have a real crush on him. Jon Stewart. I donít know. Thereís lots of people.

You say you donít want to be an action hero. Is there something you really want to do?

Yes. I really want to make like a Roman Polanski-esque, like 'Repulsion' or 'Rosemaryís Baby' type of film. But thereís nobody making those movies. 'The Others' was the closest they got to it. If I had to have one dream director, it would be Roman Polanski.

Was there a scene that was maybe harder to do than any of the others or more challenging?

No. I guess just walking down the stairs in high heels, trying not to fall. And lip-synch.

What was it like being a redhead?

It was nice. I liked the color. I like the man who did my hair, Manny. He's a real connoisseur. I like that Mary Jane doesn't look perfect, and her hair's grown out. Manny is specific and it's nice to have people around that let you do your thing but are also supportive.

In the last few years, have you taken any time to analyze why the Spider-Man movies are so successful?

I didnít need to because I lived it. Iím part of it and I know why because we never rested our laurels. We are all passionate for this franchise. The producers, the heads of Sony, all of us want to make a great movie. Obviously itís about box office for the studio at the end of the day somewhere, but we donít want to produce just to produce. We really care for [who] these characters are Ė these people are so important to us. And Sam was working up to the last second of giving over the film. So, weíre all very passionate. And Sam is such a hard worker.

Why does the public respond so much to the movie?

Well, Spider-Man is every man. And if he can be a hero, you can be a hero. And itís always had very relatable storylines in this kind of fantastical world, but somehow Sam manages to ground it with the people heís cast. And thatís always attracted really interesting actors to play our villains and so I think that itís just a very international story. Who canít relate to falling in love? Who canít relate to getting in fights with your best friend or feeling like your work is killing you? Who canít relate to all these things? So, I think thatís why.

How has acting changed for you? Did it just come naturally as a child?

Well, when I was younger, I definitely worked with an acting coach. But how else are you going to do 'Interview with the Vampire'? You canít do that on instincts. And so he helped me make things seem different and seem okay when they were maybe scarier to do. And I was up for it. I really wanted to do it at that age. And I enjoyed it and I had a great time on that film. But then I definitely have had transitions in my life where, not every child actress goes to be an adult actor. But I continued and I enjoyed it.

And 'Virgin Suicides' was big for me because it showed me in a light that was a young girl having all these other emotions. Not being just the cute little girl anymore, and Sophia did that in such a poetic way that opened many doors for me. And then 'Bring It On' was really helpful for me. And then itís always kept changing and growing. 'Marie Antoinette' was huge for me. So acting has changed for me, my barometer for what I want to do, what I want to be a part of has changed, who I want to work with. And you spend a lot of time very closely with these people on films and I want to work with good people who I can learn from Ė who are nice people. Because you deal with so many personalities in this business and itís just not worth it. You can have the best time with the nicest people.

Do you think you being a celebrity makes it difficult for some guys to ask you out on a date?

Oh, completely. I would stay away from somebody who wants to be part of that whole thing, pictures being taken. Like you just have to live your life. I live a really normal life, but then occasionally, youíve got to have a little bit of this stuff thatís not so fun to deal with. I need somebody who can deal with all the aspects of who I am.

Has the confidence you've gained through working on these films helped you to fight for a certain part if you want it, or fight to work with a certain director?

Well, this film didnít give me self-confidence. I gave myself self-confidence. I worked on myself as a human being. Films and money and all those things give you nothing. You have to give it to yourself, so I worked on myself.

Generally, do you find that if you have problem with someone that youíll speak up and let them know?

Oh, completely. Yeah. Iím very opinionated. [Laughs]

Got questions? Got comments? Send me a line at: .





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