Friday, June 25, 2004
SPIDER-MAN 2'S KIRSTEN DUNST
CULVER CITY, Calif. -- The Continuum today continues it series of question-and-answer interviews from the Spider-Man 2 press junket with Kirsten Dunst, who returns as Mary Jone Watson.
Following is an edited transcription of a roundtable interview conducted recently on the Sony lot.
Question: How has Mary Jane changed from the first film?
Dunst: It's been two years since the last movie, so, of course, anybody goes from 18 to 22, you change a lot. I've grown up, of course, Mary Jane has grown up. I think that's reflective in the movie. You see that she's much more mature than Peter. He's kind of stayed juvenile because he doesn't really have any social life.
The last movie, he kind of was the decision-maker in that we can only be friends. And in this movie, she decides for them, which I'm really happy about. She's the one pushing him to do things. And it's usually the man in movies who pushes things. It's like, "I love you. C'mon."
I just talked to Sam (Raimi) a lot about writing her to be a very strong, independent woman. She's moved to New York so she's changed a lot.
Question: Did the success of the first movie impact you dramatically?
Dunst: Not personally. Now, I'm know worldwide, I guess, and I can finance movies. On a money, production (level), it's changed a lot for me. Now it's not a question to get whatever people to come see a movie that I'm in. That all helped me. And I get paid more now, too. (laughs)
Question: You were already fairly well known. Personally, has the recognition changed?
Dunst: Definitely. More people recognize me. I mean, I still have the red wing. And I live in L.A., where everybody is too cool to come up to you. They talk about you behind your back and gossip about in Los Angeles.
But when I go to other places, I realize that people know who I am. Because they're the ones that want autographs and want to take pictures. But living in L.A., everybody's just used to it. They're talking about you behind your back more rather than admiring you or being an innocent fan.
Question: What kind of conversations did you have with Jake (Gyllenhaal) when it looked like Tobey Maguire might step down?
Dunst: That was really a complicated time. I'm just so thankful that Tobey ended up doing the movie because he is Spider-Man. And it wouldn't have been good... Jake could have done the movie, he's one of the best young actors and he probably would have done an amazing job, but Tobey is Spider-Man. I'm just happy it all worked out and he could do the stunts.
Question: Would it have been weird to work with your boyfriend?
Dunst: Of course, it would have been weird. I would like to work with him. I'm happy it wasn't this because I would like to do a more intimate movie with him where I could do many scenes with him. If we had done this, we could probably not have done another movie with him, probably. I would rather do something else with him.
Question: Have you thought about where you want Peter and Mary Jane's relationship to go in the third movie?
Dunst: I can't give away the movie. I hope that one day they'll be together. It'll be more complicated because he's basically risking his life everyday and she's worried about him risking his life everyday. And she's in danger. It adds tons of layers of complication?
Question: What is the advantage of reprising a character?
Dunst: It was nice. I feel like all my relationships developed so much more on this one. I just felt more comfortable. Sam and I got to know each other better. I changed a lot from how I was on the first movie and how I approached my work and my relationships with them. It just grew and I felt it could be more creative and open. He trusted me a lot and he knew my work. So it just made for a very comfortable shoot, where you could say anything and everybody knows you. It made it nice to go to work and know who's going to be there.
Question: Did it make it different than any other job you've had?
Dunst: With Spider-Man 2, you just wait around all day, like five hours on set. In this one, I got have my own hair and makeup person, my own person doing my wardrobe. I had much more perks in this one. It was fun to have my own little posse, because I've never had one before.
Question: Are you doing more besides the third?
Dunst: Three's enough. I think don't wear about a good thing too much.
Question: Have you determined that three is it for you?
Dunst: It will be it, yeah. I'm only contracted for three, and I don't see me signing on for a fourth.
Question: So do you want to see her killed off? Or will somebody else take over the role?
Dunst: It would actually be interesting to see Spider-Man die. Why doesn't the super-hero ever die? It would be so sad and beautiful. He's so human. I think that if Mary Jane was alone pregnant and he dies, she could give birth to a Spider-baby and carry on the series with another young boy. I doubt Tobey would come back for a fourth or a fifth.
Question: Are you worried about being trapped if you take on more in this series?
Dunst: I just think that three's a good number. I think Mary Jane is a huge, important piece of this film. It's all about the love story. But how many movies can you really make about it? You want to stop it while it's still great.
Sam wants to move on, too. This movie has been his life for so long now. You gotta refresh. You can't do it too much, I think.
Question: How hard is it to concentrate on the human moments of the film when you're dangling from a wire?
Dunst: It's so hard because it takes so long. The hardest thing is just keeping up your energy and to be there in the present when you're so tired because you've done nothing all day. What is good is that Sam knows that the scenes are the most important thing. Because if they don't work, the whole movie doesn't work, no matter how good the action scenes are. So we'd take all the time that we needed to get everything right, the dialogue. Those scenes are the easiest for me, honestly. Those are the scenes that I like to do.
It's the scenes where I have to look at this piece of tape and look at this thing blow up. Then I get picked up and then I scream and then I get picked up and then my head has to turn this way. It's like all those little details. I don't like to do that kind of stuff, so I would just try to nail it in one take. I always try to nail any harness work right away because it's not fun for me. I don't like to do this stuff.
Question: I read recently where you were more than willing to let you stunt double do things this time. Can you talk about that?
Dunst: On the first one, they could take advantage because I was so eager and I would say, "I'll do it!" On this one, I was like, "When you really don't have to use me, please don't." It's just things where my hair would cover my face anyway and I don't really need to do. And Tobey's not doing it any way, so why should I?
I did most everything, but certain things I just don't have to do. And on the last movie, I did so many things that weren't even put in the movie. So I just didn't let them take advantage of me like on the first one.
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