Since her days as a child star, the career of Kirsten Dunst has had more than a few highlights. Here are our favorite films of hers.
Interview with the Vampire
Kirsten Dunst was nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal of child vampire Claudia, who tries to murder her maker Lestat (Tom Cruise) after she realizes she will never age despite her decades of maturity.
She and Brad Pitt’s character Louis flee to Paris to find other vampires. When they discover a coven, they are punished for Lestat’s alleged death.
Dunst said she hated filming the kiss with Brad Pitt, who is 20 years her senior. “I am sure I would love to do it now, but back then, I was, like, 11 and it was ‘ugh.’ There’s nothing sexual or sexy when you’re that age. So I was kissing Brad Pitt. So what? He had chapped lips. He was lovely and kind and sweet to me, but it was just ‘yuk.’”
Co-starring Robin Williams, Jumanji tells the story of orphans Judy (Kirsten Dunst) and Peter Shepherd, who come across a supernatural board game that releases the dangers of the jungle upon a New Hampshire town.
“Being on the set of Jumanji, watching Robin Williams was so exciting for me,” Dunst remarked about the filming experience. “When you’re a kid, you don’t appreciate things as much as when you look back as an adult. It was really special to be on that set with him.”
Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker swung into Mary Jane’s (Dunst’s) heart, and she thanked him for saving her life with an electric upside down kiss that is still swoon-worthy twenty years later.
The rain-drenched smooch—in which she peeled back only enough of Spider-Man’s face mask to reveal his lips—turned out to be iconic, but it was not a romantic experience for the actress.
“Water was getting up his nose because of the rain, and then he couldn’t breathe in the Spider-Man suit … and it just felt very late at night,” she said. “I didn’t think about it that way.”
In 2016’s Hidden Figures, Kirsten Dunst plays a NASA supervisor who doesn’t realize her own prejudice towards three real-life black female mathematicians, who were mission critical to launching John Glenn into space during the segregated early 1960s.
Dunst described her character Vivian Mitchell as “a female supervisor getting pressure from men to deliver and then she has to deal with the reality of a segregated system at that time. I think that pressure really builds in Vivian. It makes her very aggressive because she feels she could lose her position at any time.”
In the 1994 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s 19th-century classic Little Women, Kirsten Dunst played the youngest March sister. As bratty Amy, she trailed after Winona Ryder’s headstrong Jo and Christian Bale’s neighbor boy Laurie, all while growing up in Civil War-era New England.
She was thrilled to hear about Greta Gerwig’s 2019 reboot, saying, “It’s so nice; each generation I feel like it’s such a classic,” Dunst said. “It’s nice to see someone else’s take on it.”
Bring It On
The cult classic teen comedy finds new cheerleading squad captain Torrance Shipman (Dunst) struggling to get her championship team back to nationals after discovering her predecessor stole all their routines from an inner city squad led by Gabrielle Union’s Isis.
Years later, Dunst is still shocked at the low-budget film’s enduring popularity and the franchise it launched. “We made the movie for nothing,” she recalled. “We were a little Universal movie that no one cared about. Even my friends—who tell me how it is—will be like, ‘I’ll get the door, Tor.’ I never thought that movie would be as big as it is.”
Drop Dead Gorgeous
In the 1999 satirical mockumentary, Kirsten Dunst’s ambitious Amber Atkins enters a Minnesota teen beauty pageant to get out of the trailer park she lives in with her mother (Ellen Barkin).
She faces an uphill battle against Denise Richards’ rich mean girl Becky and her head of the pageant queen-bee mom (Kristie Alley). She is almost driven to quit when fellow contestants start getting hurt and dying during the competition.
Dunst said that co-star Allison Janney taught her a trick to appear overwhelmed in a scene… spinning around. “I use it for playing drunk all the time, because if you spin in a circle a bunch, you’re just kind of off your feet,” she explained. “So I make myself pretty dizzy sometimes.”
The Virgin Suicides
Based on the 1993 best seller, the psychological drama follows five teenage sisters who are heavily scrutinized by their religious parents after the youngest attempts and then successfully commits suicide. After being yanked out of school and confined to their home by their overprotective father, the girls form a pact to kill themselves together.
Dunst credits director Sofia Coppola for giving her the confidence to not allow herself to be manipulated by producers throughout her career. “She made me feel beautiful for who I was, and that was a very pivotal time in my life to feel that way.”