“I’d like to grow up and be beautiful. I know it doesn’t matter, but it doesn’t hurt.”—Kirsten Dunst
Kirsten Dunst is a famous actress best known for her role as a child vampire in Interview with the Vampire and as Mary Jane in Spider-Man. A native of New Jersey, she broke on the scene as a mere toddler and then proceeded to book roles successfully into adulthood. A romantic-comedy genius, Dunst became known for playing lovable, quirky roles as a young adult before slowly challenging herself with darker, more serious roles as she matured. Even so, she’s had her fair share of scandals along the way from child stardom to her rebirth as a Hollywood bonafide. Here are 42 facts that will make you want to be her friend.
42. Fashion Baby
As a child, Dunst modeled for one of the biggest international agencies around, Ford. Dunst is included in the exclusive ranks of Anderson Cooper, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, and Courtney Cox, who have the Ford Modeling Agency to thank for kick-starting their careers.
41. Stiff Competition
Dunst enjoyed great success during the ’90s as a child actor. With stiff competition for roles at the time, she worked hard to carve out a space for herself. Amongst her competition were Christina Ricci and Scarlett Johansson. Ricci lost out to Dunst for roles in Interview with the Vampire and Little Women. Dunst also bested Johansson for roles in Jumanji and, later, Elizabethtown.
40. Beautiful People
Dunst has had the honor of being listed as one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in the World not once but twice. She was first given said title in 1995 at the tender age of 13. Then she was nominated again in 2002. That same year, she was also named one of Teen People’s 25 Hottest Stars Under 25.
Dunst has a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. She along with her mother started Wooden Spoon Productions Inc. The name was inspired by her grandmother, who always carried a wooden spoon in her purse to keep Dunst and her brother in line. Dunst’s vision was for the company to be female-driven with a focus on creatively inspired projects. Talking about the company, Dunst said, “… it’s mixing and stirring and creating, and it’s very female. We want to have a power-house women’s film company. We’re going to hire women in high, high positions, make better scripts for girls.” A baby feminist with a vision for the future, Dunst grew into a strong empowered woman with a mind of her own and a goal to always challenge herself.
38. Jodie Foster
As a young actress, Dunst cited Jodie Foster as one of her role models. Foster acted, wrote, directed, and ran her own production company, and represented all that Dunst strived to accomplish. Knowing that, it’s easy to see the many career parallels between the two—they were both young when they had a breakout role change their lives, and they’ve found success directing and producing work. As far as role models go, Dunst certainly picked a good one.
37. Third Alternate
Dunst was actually the third alternate for the role of Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man. She was offered the role only after Kate Hudson and Alicia Witt both turned it down. Like they say in the business, the third blonde’s a charm. (I recognize Witt isn’t blonde, but am opting to ignore that for the good of the joke.)
Dunst likes to cameo on the productions her boyfriends are working on. Whilst visiting Jake Gyllenhaal on set of The Day After Tomorrow, she took advantage of the opportunity to get in the background, gaining a cameo appearance. Then in an episode of Black Mirror her partner Jesse Plemons was featured in, Dunst was visiting on set when she asked the director “Can I play?” He said sure, so she hopped in a scene. You can see her for a solid two seconds before she disappears from the frame.
Dunst’s favorite films are Annie Hall and Edward Scissorhands. Her favorite TV shows are Friends, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Da Ali G Show. Booyakasha.
Dunst seems to really enjoy playing characters from the upper-crust of society who get overthrown by the populace. In Anastasia, she voices eight-year-old Anastasia, whose family has a curse invoked against them by the evil wizard Rasputin, inciting the Russian Revolution. In Marie Antoinette, she plays the doomed titular character.
Dunst’s introduction into pop culture occurred as a toddler. She was on the cover of the second novel in the Baby-Sitter’s Club series. Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls was released in 1986. Dunst said of her appearance, “I was a child model/actress and I did it strictly for the money.”
“Kiki” is how Dunst would refer to herself when she was little. Unable to pronounce her own name, she dubbed herself Kiki to make things easier. Adorably, she also voiced a character named Kiki in the English-dubbed Kiki’s Delivery Service.
31. Prom Dress
For her high school prom, Dunst did something us normal non-famous people do all the time: she borrowed a dress from a friend. Except the friend happened to be Sofia Coppola and the dress was a John Galliano that Coppola had previously worn to the Golden Globes.
30. Charitable Givings
Dunst has been recognized for her humanitarian work, and she won the Spirit of Elysium Award for her work with the charity Art of Elysium in 2010. They “support individuals in the midst of difficult emotional life challenges like illness, hospitalization, displacement, confinement, and/or crisis by providing a variety of creative tools to help them realize relief, happiness, liberation and self-empowerment through exploration and expression in social and collaborative ways.”
During the 2008 presidential election, Dunst directed and narrated a documentary about elections and low voter turnout. Why Tuesday digs into the history of Election Day, how it came to fall on a Tuesday, why it isn’t a holiday, and how all of that contributes to such a low voter turnout.
28. German Roots
Dunst has dual citizenship for the US and Germany. Her father was born in Germany. Kirsten can fluently speak the language and occasionally visits her grandparents, who live in Hamburg.
27. Music Videos
Dunst has been in a number of music videos spanning all sorts of musical genres. She was in Savage Garden’s “I Knew I Loved You,” which was a truly iconic song, the mere mention of which gets stuck in my head. The legendary Beastie Boys’ “Make Some Noise” video was chock full of celebrities, including Dunst, and she also appeared in REM’s “We All Go Back To Where We Belong.”
26. Just Dance
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Dunst and Mark Ruffalo’s characters are dating. The scene where the two of them are in their underwear dancing around an unconscious Jim Carrey was actually improvised. In another scene where Ruffalo scares Dunst, the director, Michel Gondry, told Ruffalo to hide in a different spot each take so he would genuinely surprise her.
Dunst and fiancé Jesse Plemons have been dating since 2016, and they welcomed their son Ennis Howard Plemons into the world on Thursday, May 3, 2018.
The film Dick takes place in the 1970s during Richard Nixon’s presidency. As this setting was well before Dunst and co-star Michelle Williams were born, they weren’t impressed with Dan Hedaya’s portrayal of Nixon. They felt he was overacting the part, playing Nixon as more of a caricature. Dunst and Williams had to be reassured by the older members of the production crew that Hedaya was playing Nixon exactly as he was in real life.
23. Vocal Talent
Dunst has a sort of breezy high voice, almost sing-song like in nature, so naturally, there would come along a role that would play to this strength. In fact, she sings in the film Get Over It. She croons “Dream of Me,” and she did such a good job, the song was even included in the soundtrack. She also recorded two songs for her pal Jason Schwartzman’s solo album Nighttiming, “This Old Machine” and “Summer Day.”
22. Spider Wig
Dunst played the popular comic book character Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man. Rather than dyeing her hair for the film, she chose to wear a wig. For the sequel Spider-Man 2, she relented and dyed her hair red for the role. She must have really hated that wig.
For her role in Wimbledon, Dunst underwent intensive training to be able to move like a professional tennis player. She’d work hours a day with her tennis coach prior to filming in order to prepare for her role and grow her understanding of the game. It clearly paid off, as you can really feel the excitement, frustration, and pressure to succeed come across in her portrayal.
Chemistry is such an important aspect of a film, especially for romantic films. Some films will sink or swim due to the chemistry between the lead actors. Such was the case for Elizabethtown. Ashton Kutcher was originally cast opposite Dunst for the film, but the director, Cameron Crowe, had to make a tough call when it was obvious that Kutcher and Dunst had no chemistry. Crowe ultimately chose to drop Kutcher from the film. Filming had to be pushed back, which enabled Orlando Bloom’s schedule to open, who was Crowe’s top choice all along. Vibe is everything, people.
Dunst has filmed a movie in two very different Versailles. For Marie Antoinette, a huge amount of access was given to the movie crew to shoot scenes in the Palace of Versailles in France. And in Elizabethtown, some of the film was shot in Versailles, Kentucky.
18. Manic Pixie Dream Girl
Dunst’s character Claire from Elizabethtown inspired the coining of the term “Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” As Nathan Rabin, a columnist with The A.V. Club, wrote of Dunst’s role in the film, “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is an all-or-nothing-proposition. Audiences either want to marry her instantly (despite The Manic Pixie Dream Girl being, you know, a fictional character) or they want to commit grievous bodily harm against them and their immediate family. As for me, well, let’s just say I’m not going to propose to Dunst’s psychotically chipper waitress in the sky any time soon…” It’s almost as if we have Kirsten Dunst to blame for this whole phenomenon.
17. Like Mother, Like Daughter
Dunst’s mother was a flight attendant when she was younger. So in a weird way, it was fate that Dunst would get the role to play one in Elizabethtown.
Dunst has been nominated for two Golden Globes and one Emmy. For her role as Claudia in Interview with the Vampire, Dunst was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. Dunst’s performance in Fargo garnered her both a Golden Globe and Emmy nomination.
15. Screams of MJ
In the Spider-Man, franchise Dunst plays a character who seems to get into trouble a lot. Consequently, you can often hear her scream throughout the series. You may notice, however, that some of the screams sound familiar. In fact, all those Dunst screams you hear throughout Spider-Man 3 were actually recycled from the second film. I guess she ran out of breath?
14. Best Ever
Dunst believes the best performance she ever gave was in All Good Things. She relates the experience she had reading the script for the first time to Jodie Foster when she read the script for The Accused. Interestingly, her costar Ryan Gosling sent her flowers after a scene where he pulled her because he felt so horrible about what he was being asked to do. Perhaps having a considerate costar helped Dunst be more relaxed and allowed her to give a superior performance? Could this be the secret to her success? Stay tuned to find out, right after I write Gosling to send me some flowers.
13. Anchors Away
Dunst is one of 12 famous cameos that takes place in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. She is a goddess of war named Eltrousias of the Clouds. Some other cameos that took place in the film include Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Vince Vaughn, Liam Neeson, Jim Carrey, and Marion Cotillard.
Dunst wore no makeup for her performance in the film Midnight Special. She, of course, still looks remarkably beautiful.
11. White Devil
Dunst’s character in Hidden Figures wasn’t based on any one person in real life. She was actually an amalgamation of different white coworkers from NASA meant to demonstrate the dismissiveness the black female mathematicians experienced while working there.
The estate where the movie The Beguiled was shot is the very same space used for Beyonce’s Lemonade visual album. Madewood Plantation House was featured in Lemonade, most prominently in the song “Sorry.” When the younger actresses in The Beguiled heard about the news, they got very excited. While filming, Elle Fanning and Dunst paid homage to the ornate chair Beyonce drapes herself over by recreating the scene with Serena Williams. Dunst credits Fanning for the scheme: “That was Elle’s idea, I wasn’t cool enough to know that. I was like, ‘Oh, okay! Yeah, I’ll pose with you Elle!’” I think it’s fair to say any of us would have done the same thing.
9. Hard Day’s Work
According to Dunst, her most difficult role ever was for Woodshock. She plays a young woman psychologically reeling from a devastating loss.
8. Famous Boyfriends
Dunst has dated quite a few of her fellow actors. These include Jake Gyllenhaal, Garrett Hedlund, and her current beau Jesse Plemons. She and Tobey Maguire also secretly began dating partway through Spider-Man, breaking up before filming the sequel.
7. Accidental High
In the film Woodshock, Dunst plays a cannabis dispensary employee, which has her in plenty of scenes smoking joints. Typically, for films where this is required, fake weed is used. Well, accidents happen. During filming, Dunst was given what she thought was a fake joint, but it turned out to be the real thing. After a take, Dunst didn’t feel quite right. She started pacing anxiously and thought she needed to go to the hospital. The mystery was solved when someone discovered the locals had thrown some real joints in with the fake ones just for fun. She even had to be sent home for the day!
Dunst was a cheerleader in high school, and this previous experience helped her get the role of Torrance in Bring It On. I consider this one of Dunst’s best films, so in a way, it’s not surprising that this character is also the one she relates to the most. “I was that girl.” She once said, “It was like me being in high school as myself. It wasn’t a stretch at all. I was a cheerleader, my best friend was a cheerleader. I wasn’t in competitions, but I watched them on TV.”
5. Depression and Rehab
In 2008, Dunst voluntarily checked herself into Utah’s Cirque Lodge for depression. Opening up about her battle with mental health, she said: “I have experienced depression, Many people have. Mine was caused by a few things. I felt a lot of stress from all these different areas …” After being released from rehab, Dunst avoided larger roles that would put her back into the spotlight.
Dunst channeled her own experience with depression for her role in Melancholia. As she said, “I brought my own slant [to the role] but I am very much portraying [the director’s] experience of depression. We met before I did the movie and talked about how the light goes out of your eyes. People don’t talk about depression, so for me, it was really amazing that this was going to be portrayed.” She won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for her portrayal of a deeply depressed woman in the film.
Dunst’s breakout role was as forever young vampire Claudia in the film Interview with the Vampire, based on the book by Anne Rice. In the film, Dunst and Brad Pitt’s characters share a tender moment together. The scene called for Dunst and Pitt to kiss each other. It made Dunst uncomfortable to say the least, having her first kiss with a man many years her senior. “I thought it was gross, that Brad had cooties. I mean, I was 12,” she said.
2. Too Young
When Interview with the Vampire was released, Dunst wasn’t allowed to watch it. Her parents forbade her from seeing her masterpiece, as they believed it would be too scary for her. Personally, I think they might have a point. Let’s not forget the scene where Lestat is creepily playing a piano looking like a bloated, decomposing corpse and says: “Claudia, you’ve been a very, very naughty girl,” punctuating each word as if he’s driving in a stake. Absolutely terrifying.
While working on Jumanji, Dunst really enjoyed being able to spend time with Robin Williams. He always cracked jokes on set and did impressions to entertain the other cast members. Dunst said that she learned a lot about improv from him. Her favorite thing, though, was when Williams would impersonate Jodie Foster from the movie Nell ordering at a drive-thru.
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