Was “Spider-Man 4” falling apart the best thing that ever happened to Kirsten Dunst? It certainly didn’t come up in our conversation a few weeks ago (repeat: she never said that), but in this writer’s opinion it might have.
There are sadly a good number of Dunst haters out there on the web. For some reason Dunst became the whipping boy, er, girl for anything anyone had a problem with in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy and its unfairly followed her throughout her career since. Happily, that might change in the next six to 12 months with a number of intriguing projects set for release. Dunst is already getting well deserved raves for her moving performance in Andrew Jarecki’s “All Good Things,” she has a prominent role in Walter Salles’ adaptation of Jack Keroac’s “On the Road” and stars in Lars von Triers’ “Melancholia” which is rumored to be an end of the world thriller from the man who brought us “Antichrist” and “Dancer in the Dark.” And, it’s worth noting, the last two projects wouldn’t have been possible if she had been hard at work on the latest Wall Crawler movie.
Dunst was upbeat, appreciative and blunt during our call, but you’ll have to take my word for it. You see, we unfortunately scheduled the interview on the day of Golden Globe nominations and at some point during the madness of those 24 hours the audio was lost. Yes, any journalist’s worse nightmare, but it does happen (luckily rarely). And as memory serves, Dunst had a lot to say.
First, she has huge respect for Jarecki who fought to make sure “Good Things” got an adequate theatrical release even though it took three years since principal photography was completed. Dunst also loved working with co-star Ryan Gosling and had no qualms about giving her opinions on the still “officially” unsolved and infamous disappearance of Kathleen McCormack, the almost 30-year-old case which inspired the movie. And while many still believe Robert Durst (whom Gosling plays a version of) murdered his wife, Dunst says McCormack’s mom still hangs on to the hope that her daughter will walk through the door someday.
Secondly, Dunst had an amazing time working with von Trier this past summer. She admitted she couldn’t say much about what the project is about, but dived into discussing the mercurial and publicly ego-driven avant-garde director. According to Dunst, however, the latter is a misnomer. She says von Trier is obviously opinionated and knows what he wants (what good director doesn’t?), but he’s also funny and charming. Dunst believes the Dogma 95 filmmaker was also winking at the media when he notoriously told reporters he was “the greatest director in the world” at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. She said von Trier liked to kid and play jokes and she hopes eventually that side will be more evident to the public. She also believes, from last she heard, the goal is to have “Melancholia” at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. Finger’s crossed.
In the meantime, you can check out Dunst’s great work in “Things” in theaters or available on demand in most markets. Sadly, if another distributor had been behind the movie it probably would be in the mix for a supporting actress nod. Well somethings, like “Spider-Man 4” and an audio recording of my Dunst interview are just not meant to be.
Follow Gregory Ellwood and Awards Campaign on Twitter @HitFixGregory