The last time I sat down with Kirsten Dunst, the 29-year-old actor had just returned to Los Angeles from Denmark, where she’d been filming Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, a two-part drama about the end of the world and the (unrelated) unraveling of a bride on her wedding night. It was October 2010, and Dunst was promoting the criminally underrated crime drama All Good Things. In the year that’s since passed, she’s released two films, filmed two others (Bachelorette, On The Road), bagged a bunch of trophies (including the Best Actress prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival), written a fairytale, and starred—with a lion—in a Bulgari campaign. Over cigarettes in a suite at New York’s Crosby Street Hotel, Dunst opens up about working with Alexander Skarsgård, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and von Trier, who might be even more inscrutable than people think.
BULLETT: When we last spoke almost a year ago, you pretty much refused to tell me anything about this movie.
KIRSTEN DUNST: I was afraid to! If someone told Lars that I’d said something, he’s the type of person who would probably be like, “I can’t believe you said that about me!” I was nervous about letting anything out because I didn’t want to be on anyone’s bad side during press.
In light of what’s happened, I really don’t think you need to worry about what you’re saying. [Laughter.] Lars has the tendency to write pieces of himself into his stories, and he shares your character’s struggle with depression. Did it ever feel as if you were playing a version of him?
He was never like, “You’re playing me so do this.” But he did write the story, and it is about his experience. I didn’t know how specific to his life the events were in the script, but in Cannes his wife said that watching me in certain scenes absolutely broke her. There were certain parts that she’d actually experienced and seeing me go through it in the movie, she said, “That was Lars.” I knew he suffered from depression, but I didn’t know to what extent. When I first met him, he was shaking like crazy.
I’ve added some more gorgeous outtakes from the photoshoot Kirsten did for VS. Magazine. I have to say this is one of my favourite photoshoots with Kirsten!
Photoshoots & Portraits > Photoshoots from 2011 > Set 005
They’re in some of this fall’s most-talked about films and each, in his or her own right, stands among the most buzzworthy actors of their generation: Armie Hammer, Anton Yelchin, Evan Rachel Wood and Kirsten Dunst.
And at this year’s AFI Fest, all four will gather to discuss their careers during the Los Angeles Times’ second annual Young Hollywood roundtable, moderated by staff writer Amy Kaufman.
During last year’s panel — which featured Oscar nominees Carey Mulligan and Jesse Eisenberg and new Spider-Man Andrew Garfield — the up-and-comers discussed everything from how to ease red carpet anxiety to the experience of working with veteran filmmakers.
Many of this year’s participants may be able to shed light on the latter topic. Hammer, for one, is starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the upcoming Clint Eastwood-directed biopic “J. Edgar,” which is the opening night film at 2011’s AFI Fest. The actor, 25, earned acclaim last year for his portrayal of two characters — the jilted Winkelvoss twins — in the Oscar-nominated Facebook flick “The Social Network.”
Wood, too, has been directed by some of Hollywood’s A-listers. The 24-year-old — who plays a sultry intern who seduces Ryan Gosling’s character in the recent film “The Ides of March” — was Woody Allen’s muse in 2009’s “Whatever Works.” She also played Mickey Rourke’s daughter in “The Wrestler,” and has appeared on HBO’s popular television series “True Blood.”
Dunst, meanwhile, has had her share of top directors as well, from Brian De Palma to Neil Jordan to Michel Gondry. Her most recent film, “Melancholia,” has taken some heat after director Lars von Trier made some controversial comments at a Cannes Film Festival press conference that suggested he was a Nazi. The outrage that followed, however, did not overshadow Dunst’s performance and she was awarded the festival’s best actress prize. Dunst, 29, has been acting since she was a child, and was nominated for a Golden Globe award at age 12 after starring opposite Brad Pitt in “Interview With the Vampire.”
Yelchin has recently been turning heads for his performance in the intimate romantic drama “Like Crazy,” which was beloved by audiences at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Earlier this year, the Russian-born 22-year-old played Mel Gibson’s son in “The Beaver” and starred in a remake of the ’80s horror flick “Fright Night.”
The roundtable will take place at 6:45 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, at the Mann Chinese 6 Theater in Hollywood. The evening is in partnership with AFI Fest. Tickets are free, but you must RSVP at the AFI Fest site.
If you have a question for one of the panel participants, submit it in the comments section below or on our Facebook page. We will select some to ask during the roundtable. We will also videotape the conversation, so check back for clips from the event on 24 Frames next month.
New candids from earlier this week have been added.
“I got an e-mail that said, ‘Lars is obsessed with you for this part, you’re Skyping with him tomorrow.’ He was very shy and sweet, and then it was like — O.K., done,” recalls Kirsten Dunst over sorbet and strawberries, describing how she came to play Justine, the central character in “Melancholia,” Lars von Trier’s astonishing end-of-the-world flick.
In person, Dunst is stunningly unpretentious. (When a taxi driver wonders why a paparazzo is bothering the fragile blond woman he has just picked up, she points to her face and jokes, “Hello? ‘Spider-Man’?”) At least on the surface, she has nothing in common with the magical, moody Justine, a character she describes as a “romantic depressive, maybe even from another planet.” Whoever Justine is, this haunting film (it gave one viewer, me, nightmares for weeks afterward) is hardly a joy ride. But Dunst insists the workplace atmosphere was anything but gloomy. “The family on the set was so wonderful,” she says, especially the two Charlottes — Gainsbourg, who plays her sister, and a riveting Rampling as her mother. “For such an unfunny subject, it was so much fun. And hanging out with Lars — he is the funniest, but it takes a second to get used to his sense of humor.”
Kirsten Dunst has declared she “loves” Isla Fisher after they starred together in Bachelorette.
The Melancholia star teamed up with the funnywoman and Lizzy Caplan in the indie comedy, where they play best friends who are invited to act as bridesmaids at the wedding of a girl they called Pigface in high school.
“I love her, she’s amazing. We had the best time,” she said.
“Also Lizzy Caplan was in the film and us three girls got along so well. We had a great time together.”
Kirsten added: “We just finished last week. We worked really long hours and really hard because it’s an independent film so we didn’t have a lot of time to shoot. It was very quick.”
There may also be a title amendment: “I think we’re going to change the title.”
Next up for the 29-year-old actress is Upside Down opposite British actor Jim Sturgess.
Kirsten has high praise for her leading man, saying: “Jim is lovely, he’s so easy. He’s such a nice guy – very normal, chilled, a very special actor, really good guy.”
Woop, throwing in another photoshoot update. I’ve added another 3 outtakes from Kirsten’s photoshoot for Flare Magazine. Enjoy!
Photoshoots & Portraits > Photoshoots from 2011 > Set 006
I’ve updated some already existing photoshoots and added a couple of new ones to the gallery. Check them out: