Kirsten Dunst Interviewed – SPIDER-MAN 3

     April 23, 2007

Yes it’s another interview with a member of the cast of Spider-Man 3, this time it’s with Kirsten Dunst. You all know who she is and what character she plays so here is what you really need to know.

SPOILERS are discussed during the interview. I’ve done my best to make it so you have to highlight the parts that would ruin the movie but if you listen to the audio you’ll hear everything. If you want to be completely surprised you might want to wait until after you’ve seen the movie to read these interviews.

If you want to listen to this interview click here. As always it’s an MP3 and easily played on a portable player or put on a CD for listening in your car or wherever.

And if you missed the interviews with Sam Raimi,James Franco and Topher Grace just click on their name for a link to the article.

Spider-Man 3 opens on May 4th.

Question: So, James and Toby mentioned that there was a certain degree of collaboration with Sam when it came to developing this third movie, much more so probably than in the first two films. Did you find that yourself, with Mary-Jane her whole thing?

Kirsten Dunst: I did. Because Sam, you know, now they’re in a relationship so now you have to deal with real relationship stuff and I was happy Mary-Jane finally got a gig. Sam, you know, obviously he’s the one who developed the story line and everything but he was open to our suggestions.

Can you talk about the singing? That’s really you singing?

Yeah, yeah.

Was that nerve racking or ….

I got to pre-record it so I just lip-synced.

Do you enjoy that part of showing you off in that way?

It was fun. It was fun to do.

What kind of films would you rather make? I know you got a blast out of Spider-Man, you also make great movies like The Cat’s Meow and certain art house films. How do you find the balance in your career? What do you like to do the most?

Well Sam to me is a very independent spirit and motto to me. Like working with Sam, he’s the most collaborative director I’ve ever worked with. To me it’s like doing a small film, obviously on a large scale but when it comes to the scenes and the relationships it’s treated like any other movie. It’s very important for all of us. But I look at movies big and small, like the bigger movies take longer to make and you have to do more for them, you know what I mean? And usually it’s a little bit more coverage too. So those are the things. Those are the elements. Like do I want to spend six months of my life doing this film?

Now the whole Spider-Man 4 question of course has been coming up. Sam did say that if neither you nor Toby came in to do Spider-Man 4 then he would be likely not to want to do it.

Right. I feel the same way. I would only do it with Sam and Toby. I mean, you can’t do that the fans #1, you can’t do that to each other – we’re a team and we’ve grown up together now and what makes this movie special is our collaboration together. And yeah, I wouldn’t do it without Sam and Toby.

Has anybody approached that you yet?

Not really. I mean but we never felt like it was really over anyway so I just think there’ll probably be a slight reprieve and we’ll come back and …

Was there one point you did say that three would be enough?

Yeah and I do think it’s enough – I feel like we ended a chapter with the film definitely. I think this is, this book is closed and now we’ll approach it in another way that will refresh all of us. I mean we always had really amazing actors who have come in and played our villains. People respect this franchise. They respect Spider-Man. And they know we want to make the best film every time that we can.

What about a more wild Mary Jane like in the comics?

Well Mary Jane is a little bit more like sexed up than the comics. I mean I do wear a padded bra in the film but, you know, we wanted to develop Jane and make her a woman that all the girls can look up to.

Would you want Mary Jane to be more like a party girl in another film?

I don’t know. We’ll see where it goes. I don’t know. I haven’t thought about – all I’m thinking about is this movie right now. And that’s not up to me.

Are there any thematic aspects of this movie that you could identify with in any way with the relationship side of it or the whole comment on celebrity culture?

So many things. So many things, this movie is so, you know, good and evil. Religion plays a big part in comics to me and Spider-Man. And even our visuals, like James laying, with the sun rising at the end like a sacrificed lamb or Toby in the second one being over the people in the tram like he’s Jesus. I mean it’s very much good and evil like I think is in a lot of religions. And also it’s about heroes and Peter is like everyman. I mean, when Spider-Man swings through the city its melancholic music. You know, he’s always tortured with his responsibility and he’s trying to grow up and be a man with these powers and then you have, you know, I could compare it to like Superman. When he flies through the air it’s like happy music, you know what I mean? But Spider-Man is always tortured with his work and tortured and so that makes him a human you know, and you don’t separate the man from mask. He’s always been in sync for me when it comes to Peter.

How do interpret where Peter and Mary Jane are at the end of this film? It’s a little ambiguous.

Which I love because that’s relationships. It’s not cut and dry.

So is that how you see it then?

Yes, completely. Yep.

What was your experience like in Tokyo?

I loved it. I mean I went earlier than the cast so I could go to Kyoto and like, visit the temples and we went on the train and saw Mt Fuji and I mean, that’s so visual. And they respect Spider-Man. They love Spiderman in Tokyo. They just love comics. They are so into all of the things that – so I though it was appropriate that we had our premiere there.

What challenges do you face at this point in your career trying to find the right character?

I don’t deliberate so much. I’m very instinctual. So I’m not like career planning.

What kind of characters are you drawn to then and what women do you hope to play?

It’s not even about the specific – for me it’s about the story and the director as is in the film.

What are you signed up for now?

I’m doing a movie with Simon Pegg. He was in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz and we’re doing a comedy based on this book called How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

Are you his girlfriend in that?

No I work at the magazine, Vanity Fair, which isn’t called Vanity Fair really, but …

Is it fun for you to show a comedic side?

Oh I love comedy. I mean it’s such a well written script and I was just like ‘Yes!’ before I finished it. And I’ve always loved comedies though. I just, I want to do something fun next.

And after Spidey? Did you do something since?

No. I took a break. I was at school and stuff like that ….

You were at school?

Yeah I went to an art school?

What’d you do?

Painting and drawing. It was fun.

I’m curious about Japan. Was it easy for you to be anonymous there or were people coming up and trying to talk about Spiderman?

Right, it’s all how you roll, you know, like I mean big bodyguards ‘cause you’re like precious cargo to Sony. So sometimes I’d be like ‘I’m just going to go shop with my friend now’ or ‘We’re going to go and do this’ and so then, you know people don’t recognise you if you’re just – I mean they recognise you because you’re the one with the pair walking down the street but that’s it. But if you see a blonde girl and then two big men walking behind her it’s like ‘Who’s that?’ and then you recognise them. So it all how you go about it. So I make press tours and I try to escape the bodyguards. I’m like ‘It’s OK, you guys can chill. I’ll be fine’.

Did you like that she actually does something where she drops that cinder block?

Yeah. Its like ‘Sam, give me something’. That was the one thing I said to Sam. I’m like give me something’ so he gave me a cinder block. And it’s so funny because a cinder block weighed less than all of these – it was like holding air. It was like foam, I’m like pretending to pick it up [makes exertion noises] and drop it and so that was really funny for me. I was like ‘Oh God’.

Are you surprised at this stage of your career? Making the effortless transition from child actress to adolescent and adult?

Not effortless. I’ve done a few shoddy films in my day.

But everyone does right?

Yeah everyone does. But I’ve always had good friends, good family, went to a normal school. Like I’ve always had a good base. And you know, we all go through our crap in our teen years and we all have to find ourselves. So I’m OK. I’m good.

Can you tell me a little bit more about Losing Friends and Alienating People? What the movie is about, the character that you play?

I play Alison. She works at the works at the faux Vanity Fair. But it’s basically he plays a writer from London who’s very controversial and comes to the Vanity Fair. And it’s all about the goings on in that whole celebrity gossip world and being kind of rejected as a writer. I mean it’s all in the book but ….

Can you relate to that?

Me as a writer? As an actor? Yeah no, when I read the script it’s just so good – it just makes fun of so many people in such a good way.

How much of your self have you incorporated into your various roles?

Well you know you change as a person, then you really what attracted you to that part when you have some distance. But while you’re in it you don’t. But then I’ve always found like a few years later like, oh that’s why I did that. Because it is really a reflection of how you feel about yourself and the situations you get into and all these – they’re like magnified parts of me I think.

Do you want to take this painting that you’re doing to a professional level that you may want to exhibit?

No it’s private for me. I spent time, like you need to have passion private for yourself.

If you couldn’t act is there anything that you would like to do?

I’m directing my first short film this summer and I’m also starting to produce.

What short film are you directing?

It’s a ghost story and its part of this Glamour reel. They’re totally giving me carte blanche, I pick my letter, I write my script, I pick everyone who I want to collaborate with and it’s great.

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Are you going to be acting in this?

Well Michelle Williams is a friend of mine. We did a movie together when we were younger and so I wanted to her to be my star. And she said she would. Now it’s all about dates and things like that.

So what’s it called?

I don’t know yet what it’s called.

Part of Glamour reels?

It is, yeah.

That’s like a magazine?

Yeah, but then they premiere these short films done by – I know Jennifer Aniston did one but it’s also not just actresses, it’s ….

Is it one of the series that Gwyneth did and…

Exactly, it’s one of those. But then you can do what you like with it. You know, it’s just exciting.

What’s the story?

I’m not going to share that yet. It’s a surprise.

When are you shooting?

In August I shoot it.

So is that a genre you like, ghost story?

Well I’ve always – Roman Polanski. Like all those movies. The Night Porter is one of my favourite movies. And we just don’t make movies like that any more and The Others was the closest kind of genre that I think.

Will it give you a taste for directing features?

Yes. I am definitely writing one day.

What are you producing?

Well there are a few things but that’s all I can really talk about.

So what were the challenges on this film for you as an actor versus the last two or is it just getting in that character mode of, you know, screaming in that emotional, you know ….

It’s not like these movies are, it’s not challenging in a new way. It’s like every movie is a different entity. And even with these movies. Because we all change as people so much. And I guess it made it all like, our standards are just so high for each other now that we just call each other on our stuff. And we’re so honest that it’s like a really close family that we can get in fights and love each other.

The taxi cab scene must have been pretty tough.

Oh I hate doing that crap. I mean basically you spend all day for one shot that’s like the blink of an eye in film. And it’s weeks and weeks of it. And there’s five like units going. Sam isn’t even directing you. It’s like all different people all the time, then they have to have approval and then they run it back. And we end up re-shooting it anyway because Sam needs to do it his way. So it’s just – it’s the most frustrating, arduous process of the whole filming and I just hate acting to nothing. That’s not why I’m in this business but I understand that it’s part of this movie and I’m still doing it.

You were fabulous in those scenes?

In the action scenes? Well then that’s huge. I’d rather be doing the action scenes because they were the hardest of all. I gave my – like the part of the movie is OK. And then as soon as it gets to the action I’m going to suck, but that’s OK.

Did you like that MJ got to do the insecurity scenes and be a little more caddy than in the past?

Yeah, it’s nice that, now that they’re older, like the things that they have to deal with in their life are coming out. And so it’s nice for the fans who have seen the first and the second and the comics that they can have an extra emotional connection with all of this because we all know Mary Jane’s past and I feel like Mary Jane’s a strong girl but like one little tug and she unravels completely. So it was to bring all of that from the first and second into this and all have so much to play with each other because Harry, Toby and our trifecta, friendships and loves and hates and there’s so much there. And I think it all really comes out in this movie.

What have you learned as an actor that you’re going to take with you behind the camera?

Um, well I mean Roman Polanski was an actor, Ron Howard, Clint Eastwood. Actors? You know what you need, you know how to treat your actors, you want them to be happy, you want them to have what they need and then be collaborative and, you know, you always get the best of someone when they feel safe and they feel free to do whatever they want in front of your camera. And to make sure there are good people around you on set. You know, no jerks. No jerky first A.D You know, like all those elements.

You’ve written this yourself?

Yeah. I mean it’s based on something, yeah.

Was the writing much more demanding than acting than you thought it was going to be?

No, like I’m a very visual person, I’m very into music, I’m very into art, I’m very into film so for me it’s just very fast in my head.

Did you and Bryce hang out?

Bryce and I? Sorry I have to calculate, it’s too fast from question to question for me. Bryce is one of my best friends. Like she, out of everyone on film, I’m closest with.

No fight scene between Gwen and MJ?

Who? MJ and Gwen? That’s all your fantasies.

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