'I'm happy doing nudity in a film when it's appropriate': The world according to Kirsten Dunst
The 29-year-old actress on working with Lars von Trier, what she looks for in a man and why her parents did a good job raising her
'There's a scene in Melancholia where I'm lying naked, bathing in the glow of the Moon, but it looks like a painting as it's lit so beautifully. You can almost forget that I'm nude,' said Kirsten Dunst
This week sees the announcement of the 2012 Oscar nominations – and one actress who’s in with a shout is Kirsten Dunst.
Last year she turned in a powerful performance in Melancholia, a haunting film in which she plays a depressed woman who sabotages her own wedding day as the end of the world draws near.
The role won her the Best Actress award at last year’s Cannes Festival, yet the film could be overlooked for the Best Picture Oscar due to racist comments made in Cannes by Lars von Trier, its Danish director, who joked that he ‘understood Hitler’. Its star, however, defends Von Trier. ‘Obviously it’s not something he actually believed. I knew he was trying to be provocative.’
Dunst, 29, who’s best known for playing Mary Jane in the Spider-Man movies, has been acting all her life. Her first starring role, aged 11, was opposite Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in Interview With The Vampire.
She lives in New York and is dating actor Garrett Hedlund.
'I was scared about working with Lars (von Trier), because everyone made such a big deal about how he tortures actresses,' said Kirsten
Even if you have great success, it’s never good enough – you must do better.
I inherited that attitude from my dad, along with his work ethic. If I got an A minus, my dad would say, ‘Why didn’t you get an A plus’ He was very strict. He grew up in Germany and his father was in World War II. He could be harsh, but he loosened up later.
I don’t have to rely on a man to give me financial security.
I have the confidence as a 29-year-old of knowing that I can work and make money. That’s something most women my age don’t have. That’s a big deal. It’s amazing that I can help my family. My grandmother lives with my mother in a gorgeous house. I am afforded these luxuries and I’m very young.
Kirsten with John Hurt in Melancolia
I was scared about working with Lars (von Trier), because everyone made such a big deal about how he tortures actresses.
When I first got to know him I was shocked by the things he would say, but you don’t make the movies he makes with a PC personality. But what I found was a really sensitive, funny and kind director who was emotionally intuitive. He loves women.
Beverly Hills is a vampire city – I hate going there.
There’s definitely a bubble in LA with only one type of industry going on, and it gets to me. I’m originally from New Jersey and I prefer the mentality on the east coast of America. I like living in New York. I have anonymity here that I don’t have in Los Angeles. London was too vast, too big a city for me when I first went there, but now I love it. I have a network of friends there; they live around Victoria Park in east London and always show me a fun time. I know Keira Knightley and I’m really good friends with Simon Pegg and Jim Sturgess.
'My mother told me that when I was born she just knew I would be an actress,' said Kirsten
My kids will be able to see me growing up, as my life has been played out on screen.
I grew up on film. Most people have a photo here and there and maybe some video footage from a birthday. I think the best thing about my job is that I have my life documented, which not many people get to have.
My mother told me that when I was born she just knew I would be an actress.
Every time we’d go to the grocery store, everyone would come up to her and say, ‘Your daughter is so animated, she’s such a happy child, she has such a light. You should put her in commercials.’ My mum thought, ‘OK, we’ll try acting and put away some money for college.’ I booked my first commercial and that was it.
I’m happy doing nudity in a film when it’s appropriate.
There’s a scene in Melancholia where I’m lying naked, bathing in the glow of the Moon, but it looks like a painting as it’s lit so beautifully. You can almost forget that I’m nude. Whether your boyfriend minds seeing you naked depends on what kind of boyfriend you have. Some people would freak out but I wouldn’t want to be with a person who did. It’s art – I would be proud if it was my girlfriend.
When it comes to dating, I don’t care what you do.
Just as long as you make me laugh, you’re a good person, you surprise me and we’re honest with each other. It’s important to have your own life. As soon as you give up too much of yourself it just turns bad. My experience is that as you get older you try to pick a partner who you’re friends with. It’s hard to find balance, and that’s not going to come with the ‘instant chemistry’ kind of people.
'My kids will be able to see me growing up, as my life has been played out on screen,' said Kirsten. She was 11 when she starred in Interview With The Vampire opposite Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise
My parents did a really good job with me.
I was a very extrovert kid and it felt normal to me to act. I’ve never been a prima donna so I never had problems. I always went to regular schools – I always had my seat at the cafeteria when I came back from acting and I never felt like an alien in my life because of what I did. My mum was never my manager, but she was always with me on set. She would bring the pasta machine and make home-made pasta wherever we went. My mum was way more laid-back than my dad, so I had a good balance.
I’m not extravagant – in fact, I still have Ikea furniture in my apartment.
My luxuries I love to travel. I recently went on tour with a friend who’s in a band, and we went to different cities every day. I like spending money on nice candles or furniture and I love good restaurants. But I’m a very frugal shopper.
‘Melancholia’ is out on Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow