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Interviews Melancholia

This year at Cannes, the person who squirmed sitting next to Lars von Trier at his notorious “Melancholia” Cannes press conference, during which the Danish writer-director offended just about everybody by calling himself a Nazi, was his star, Kirsten Dunst.  In the days to follow he apologized repeatedly for the “stupid, idiotic” comments that led to his banishment from the festival.

But he also had to repair the damage he had done to his relationship with Dunst.  “It was probably harder on her than anyone else,” Von Trier told me the night he was going to meet her for a makeup dinner.

Putting balm on the wound was the closing night ceremony, when Dunst gratefully accepted the best actress Palme, thanking the festival for allowing “Melancholia” to stay in competition. Afterwards she said that she should not have been punished for von Trier’s “inappropriate” comments. Nor should she. “Melancholia” starts off with Dunst’s lavish castle wedding, destroyed by the beautiful bride’s plunge into depression, followed by how she and her family deal with a planet hurtling toward a possible collision with Earth. “Melancholia” might have had a shot at the Palme d’Or won by “The Tree of Life” had it not been overshadowed by von Trier’s misbehavior. (More details on the film and a sampling of reviews are here.)

By the time of our video interview below, Dunst, who had already weathered a Cannes controversy with Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette,” had clearly forgiven her director. She was sorry to have missed a celebratory party, and clearly has learned to measure her words carefully with the media. After all, she’s been working in high-profile films since 1994’s “Interview with the Vampire” at age 12. And she’s happy to carry the promo load on “Melancholia”–as Von Trier has refused to give any more interviews. “Maybe that’s not a bad thing,” she says, laughing.

Working with Von Trier, contrary to previous reports, was “not difficult,” she says. Both had experienced depression; he opened up to her and earned her trust, she sys: “I couldn’t feel so vulnerable if I didn’t feel taken care of by Lars.”

Dunst admits that she got off easy on this one, compared to what Charlotte Gainsbourg had to do on “Anti-Christ.” She worried about her parents seeing her magnificient nude display, but her father told her it was “artistic.” “Only Lars and Pedro Almodovar write these incredible, messy roles for women,” she says. Even the department heads on the film were women: “He needs nurturing.” She would happily work with Von trier again–along with Almodovar and Michael Haneke.

While she has been heading in an indie direction since leaving the “Spider-Man” franchise, “I’m not an indie intense person at all,” she insists. In fact, she’s now shooting a dark indie comedy with Isla Fisher, “Bachelorette,” based on rookie director Leslye Hedland’s play. “We’ve lightened it,” she says. In January Dunst starts another indie adapted from the stage, Adam Rapp’s bleak drama “Red Light Winter, ” which the NYT called “a frank, graphic story of erotic fixation and the havoc it can wreak on sensitive souls.” The movie will co-star Mark Ruffalo and Billy Crudup.



Melancholia hasn’t just brought actress Kirsten Dunst critical acclaim, but also the coveted Best Actress Award at Cannes. In the conclusion of our interview, Kirsten discusses the experience of working with controversial director Lars Von Triers, how she unwinds from such a challenging role and her relationship with REM.


EXAMINER: When you work with a director that doesn’t do a lot of rehearsals, how does that affect your process?

KIRSTEN: Every film set is a totally different energy. You don’t know what everyone’s going to be like and you kind of have to work within what you’re given. Also, I do a lot of preparation before I start a movie. So, it gave me a lot of freedom actually. I appreciated it. Being on Lars’ set is the best film school in the world.


EXAMINER: Do you do a lot of research before you do a role?

KIRSTEN: Not research, but as I said it before, it’s almost like therapy between me and who I’m playing.


EXAMINER: With a role that’s so dark, is there a lightness when the cameras aren’t rolling?

KIRSTEN:  I was playing Angry Birds in my trailer (laughs). You’ve got to. You have to self-preserve. That’s part of it, too. You don’t have to sit there and be depressed to play depressed. Actually, you should be in a good place to play depressed, I think. We moved pretty swiftly, too, so there was definitely momentum. Lars has a great sense of humor, too. He’d yell out “Stop acting.” So, it was a very heavy thing and I’d have to prepare, but making a movie doesn’t have to be drudgery, just because of the subject matter. There was a lot of lightness, too.


Sisters confront each other in the face of  a possible apocalypse in Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia. Kirsten Dunst stars as Justine,  a young woman struggling with depression. Kirsten recently took a few moments to discuss the film, her own bout with the disease and the next phase in her acting career. 


EXAMINER: The movie involves a character facing the end of the world. Does she know the end is coming?

KIRSTEN: I don’t think that Justine knows the end of the world is coming when she’s at her wedding. I think that there’s something she senses, but I don’t think that’s what makes her depressed. I think that she’s gone through this a few times in her life. The wedding and the pressure of getting married and realizing that this man isn’t who she wants to be with is making her depressed. There’s something else she’s longing for that’s not in her realm.


EXAMINER: Does Lars think that depression is sort of an inevitability?

KIRSTEN: No, I don’t think so. Lars has spoken openly about his depression. There are scenes in this movie that are verbatim what Lars went through, but I wouldn’t say that. He talked about his depression, but he’s not an over talker.


EXAMINER: You went depression yourself, right?

KIRSTEN: Yeah, I did, but it’s not something that I even wanted to talk about. It just kind of had to come out, because other people were talking about it. But it’s not something I would talk about anymore.

Public Appearances

And Kirsten have attend yet another event. Yesterday she attended the 2011 MOCA Gala.

Public Appearances

So sorry about the delay with these pictures! You might need to have a bit patience with me from now on, I’m doing my best but Kirsten is very busy and so am I. Anyway all recent events have been added to the gallery.


Cities News

Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom have joined Clive Owen and Anil Kapoor in acclaimed director/writer Roger Donaldson’s (THE BANK JOB, 13 DAYS) next directing project titled CITIES.

The international thriller is being produced by Matthew Metcalfe (DEAN SPANLEY, LOVE BIRDS) and Chris Curling (HANNIBAL RISING, THE LAST STATION).

Julie Christie, Eyeworks New Zealand CEO, will executive produce alongside Eyeworks New Zealand who will partner on the production. Lisa Wilson’s Parlay Films is handling international rights to the film that is set to lens in Spring 2012.  The film will shoot in multiple cities that will include London, Mumbai and New York.

CITIES reunites Dunst and Bloom who first appeared together in Cameron Crowe’s indie comedy ELIZABETHTOWN in 2005. Kirsten Dunst joins the cast in the role of “Kate” alongside Clive Owen. Dunst most recently won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her role in Lars von Trier’s MELANCHOLIA.  She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her supporting actress role in INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE and appeared in SPIDER-MAN 1, 2 and 3 opposite Tobey Maguire.  Her additional credits include Sofia Coppola’s VIRGIN SUICIDES and MARIE ANTOINETTE as well as BRING IT ON, LITTLE WOMEN and the romantic comedy WIMBLEDON.

Bloom is currently filming Peter Jackson’s THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY marking the fourth time the film director and actor have worked together – Bloom also appeared in the blockbuster LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.  Bloom’s credits include the record breaking PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies 1, 2 and 3 and he can currently be seen in the highly anticipated THE THREE MUSKETEERS.

“CITIES is very much a movie for our time,” states Donaldson. “The subjects of greed and money and their impact on our every day lives surround us constantly and CITIES is a movie that will explore this in a dramatic way with tension and excitement at every turn.”

CITIES is a cautionary tale about greed and ambition that takes place in the exuberant months leading up to the Dow Jones all-time stock market high. Fortunes, both big and small are put at risk as people around the globe gamble that the financial market’s meteoric rise will continue. In New York, a hedge fund manager (OWEN) has everything he wants – money, sex and power, but he wants more.  In London, a young couple just want to buy their first home, but it seems impossibly out of reach. In Mumbai, a cop fights against corruption between property speculators and his villainous colleague Seth (KAPOOR). These stories will all dramatically collide in a world where the fortunes of individuals are interwoven with the lives of others across the globe they have never even met.

UTA’s Independent Film Group helped to package the film and structure the financing, and will represent domestic rights with CAA.

Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Clive Owen (DUPLICITY, INSIDE MAN, CHILDREN OF MEN, CLOSER) has risen to the top ranks of international superstar actors having been nominated for an Academy Award for CLOSER and winning a Golden Globe for the same role.   His extensive credits include GOSFORD PARK, THE BOURNE IDENTITY, CHILDREN OF MEN, THE INSIDE JOB, THE INTERNATIONAL, DUPLICITY and SIN CITY.  His current films include THE KILLER ELITE opposite Jason Statham and Robert De Niro and INTRUDERS for Universal Pictures.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE star Anil Kapoor is one of India’s most famous and beloved actors.  In addition to a myriad of acclaimed local credits, Kapoor has also starred in 20th Century Fox Television’s award-winning TV series 24 and will next be seen in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL.

Roger Donaldson’s drama thriller JUSTICE aka HUNGRY RABBIT JUMPS starring Nicolas Cage, Guy Pearce and January Jones is set for release later this year. Working with some of the industry’s leading actors, Donaldson has directed over sixteen films including box office hits NO WAY OUT, THE RECRUIT, THIRTEEN DAYS, DANTE’S PEAK, THE BOUNTY, THE GETAWAY, THE BANK JOB, SPECIES and COCKTAIL.  Donaldson both wrote and directed the acclaimed film THE WORLD’S FASTEST INDIAN starring Anthony Hopkins.

Dunst is repped by UTA and Bloom CAA.

Lisa Wilson, President of Parlay Films provides theatrical feature films to the international marketplace.  At the American Film Market that commences on November 2nd, 2011, Parlay Films is offering four films in post-production; the Bradley Cooper starrer The Words with Jeremy Irons, Zoe Saldana, Dennis

Quaid and Olivia Wilde, Arbitrage starring Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth and Brit Marling, Rodrigo Cortes’ Red Lights with Robert De Niro, Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy and Amy Heckerlings’s Vamps starring Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter.  In addition to Cities, on offer in pre-production is the romantic comedy A Little Something for your Birthday starring Malin Akerman.



Kirsten Dunst is lending a little thoughtfulness to R.E.M.’s latest (and last) music video, “We All Go Back To Where We Belong.”

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