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Sunday, December 12, 2010
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INTERVIEW: KIRSTEN DUNST, YOUNG VETERAN, GETTING BEST REVIEWS YET

On Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to spend a half-hour with the actress Kirsten Dunst, who is receiving the best reviews of her career — and even best supporting actress Oscar buzz — for her performance as a woman in a troubled marriage who disappears under mysterious circumstances in Andrew Jarecki’s crime-thriller “All Good Things” (Magnolia, 12/3, R, trailer). (The film was inspired by the true story of a woman named Kathie Durst who has been missing since 1982.)

Dunst, who is even more beautiful in person than she is on screen (she would have made a great Hitchcock blonde!), is just 28 years old, but she has already accumulated more than 20 years of acting credits. She made her big screen debut at the age of eight in Woody Allen’s “New York Stories” (1989), followed shortly thereafter by a performance as Tom Hanks’s daughter in “The Bonfire of the Vanities” (1990). Her breakthrough role came in “Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles” (1994), in which she famously kissed a much older Brad Pitt, and for which she received a Golden Globe nod for best supporting actress. She gave other noteworthy childhood performances in “Little Women” (1994), “Jumanji” (1995), and “Wag the Dog” (1997), and then began her transition into adult roles, assisted greatly by leading parts in two Sofia Coppola films, “The Virgin Suicides” (1999) and “Marie Antoinette” (2004), as well as “Dick” (1999), “Bring It On” (2000), “Mona Lisa Smile” (2003), “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004), “Wimbledon” (2004), and “Elizabethtown” (2005). She is best known, however, for her portrayal of the red-headed comic book-turned-movie character Mary Jane Watson in the “Spider-Man” trilogy (2002, 2004, 2007), which made her an international star.

Over the course of our conversation, we discussed her work in many of the aforementioned films, as well as how she got her start at such a young age; how she feels about having been a child actor; how she dealt/deals with her loss of anonymity that came as a result of the “Spider-Man” franchise; the two-year hiatus that she took from film after wrapping “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People,” during which she tackled some personal issues and was said to have contemplated quitting acting; and her decision to come back for “All Good Things,” for which (a) Jarecki has said that he had her in mind before he had even met her or cast the male lead, (b) Kathie Durst’s brother gave her his blessing, (c) she rehearsed for eight weeks; and (d) she has earned a high compliment from perhaps the least likely source of all, Kathie’s husband Robert Durst, the prime suspect in her disappearance, who has called her “a ringer” — but, notably, not a dead ringer! — for his missing wife. Finally, we close by talking about two highly-anticipated films in which she will be appearing in the near future: Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia” and Walter Salles’s “On the Road.”

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  • Tim

    Kirsten was absolutely spectacular.

  • Gabe

    I heard this interview.
    I heard this interview.
    It is an excellent interview. You have posed many interesting questions, she answered in a comprehensive manner, in short, is a document that will remain for those who love the career of this extraordinary actress. Congratulations and thank you.

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