[IMG:L]As she takes on her third film playing Mary Jane Watson, the most famous superhero girlfriend since Lois Lane, Kirsten Dunst talks all about Spider-Man 3, including working yet not working with Thomas Haden Church, twisting with James Franco and how hard it is to watch Tobey Maguire tango without giggling.
Hollywood.com: How different is Mary Jane after three movies? And how different is Kirsten Dunst after six years of Spider-Man?
Kirsten Dunst: On the first movie I was so much younger – I was so much more impressionable and insecure and so I didn’t have the confidence that I do as an actress today. And I cared what people thought, and I was performing more for other people instead of myself. And we’ve just grown up. Each film we’ve just become more and more collaborative. And this last one has just been [about] three individuals coming together and as equal adults collaborating on a film. But you’re not that when you’re a teenager. You have to grow into that.
HW: Were you kind of just playing the “Mary Jane the actress” storyline in this and not the more-FX-driven side of the film?
KD: On this one, I think that they’re finally together and she’s successful in what she’s doing and he’s really been embraced by the city of New York and is getting all these accolades. And it’s blowing his head up a little bit. And then we just slowly start to unwrap on Mary Jane and their relationship – already they’re kind of ignoring things within that. And then it doesn’t help that he takes on this other darkness that envelopes his character and brings out all the things that he’s not dealing with in his life, and all his anger, and really heightens that.
[IMG:R]HW: Can you sort of get focused in your character’s personal world and not have to think about how The Sandman fits into everything?
KD: Oh, I just focus on what I’m doing. That’s why it’s such a surprise when I see the movie, because I don’t know what half of it’s going to look like, you know what I mean? And I’d see Thomas and we’d be like “Hey, we’re in the same movie – how are you doing?” We all had our separate little lives and stories going on, which makes sense because that’s what it’s like in the film.
HW: You got to do some singing as MJ – was that scary to see in the script?
KD: I was just happy that she finally got a gig. I’ve always sang, so it wasn’t a big deal to me, and I could pre-record it and then just listen to it…I could never sing live in front of big audiences. I couldn’t do that. I’m not a Broadway actress. I can’t do that. No, no, no, no, no. I couldn’t do that.
HW: Was that scene more challenging than the others?
KD: No. I guess just walking down the stairs in high heels, trying not to fall. And lip sync.
HW: Tobey gets his dance moments, too – was it easy to watch him and keep a straight face?
KD: It was so funny and I had to have a reaction of kind of like “Peter, what’s wrong with you?”’ That I couldn’t even have Tobey do it, because I just would laugh when he was dancing. I just couldn’t help myself. It’s so ridiculous I just couldn’t deal with it. And I had to be in this kind of shock, like “What’s happened to Peter?” kind of mode. And meanwhile, he’s doing all these pelvic twists and thrusts and I just couldn’t watch Tobey do it anymore. I was just laughing way too much.
HW: You and James get to do the twist and that’s not exactly your era.
KD: Oh, I can do the twist. I’m a big dancer…They brought me all the way down to like Culver City. I was like “Why are we here? Oh, it’s twist lessons. Are you kidding me? You brought me all the way down here to do the twist?” I mean I’ve done it – it’s not the hardest dance in the world. But then, yeah, I did a twist lesson with James, helped him out a little bit.
[IMG:L]HW: In these films, you rarely get any superheroic action of your own – do you wish you got to play the hero a little more?
KD: Honestly, I have absolutely no interest in being the superhero. I got to throw a cinderblock in this one, which is fine. That’s enough action for me. And if I were to do any kind of superhero-esque film, I would just do like some werewolf avant-garde [film], like in the streets of Paris or something. Something really cool, like remember that movie with the vampires? The Lost Boys – something that’s cool like that.
HW: Did you have a Mary Jane moment where she has this big opportunity and it falls to pieces, have you had a similar situation?
KD: Of course. Of course I’ve like been so bummed when I haven’t gotten a role. That happened when I was younger. Now I’ve learned that it’s probably for the best for some reason in my life. But when I was younger, oh my God, yeah, of course. Yeah. Of course.
HW: What about critics?
KD: I’ve definitely been disappointed. I usually have read the New York Times and LA Times and I’ve been disappointed before, but now I’m in a place in my life where I really don’t care, so that’s a good feeling…I don’t let those things affect me anymore. I don’t read the crap anymore. I don’t, it’s not part of my life and so I’m not worried about what people say or write about me. I mean I’ll definitely read a few reviews, and I respect them and I’m not saying that I don’t value what they do. I’m just not going to personally invite that into my feelings about myself.
HW: You premiered the film in Tokyo. Is there a big difference between a Japanese Spider-Man fan and an American fan?
KD: Yeah, the Japanese are very excited about us…I went to Universal Studios because we had to open some attraction there and this girl screamed – we went on a Spider-Man ride after and she screamed at me like I was a rock star. And I was like “Calm down. It’s okay.” But at the premiere, they’re very mellow. Even when you’re in big crowds, you feel like you have your own space. They’re very respectful of people’s spaces.
HW: Who brings out that kind of screaming fan in you?
KD: Oh, Joni Mitchell. But I wouldn’t scream in her face. I mean. Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, who else? Barack Obama, I have a real crush on him… He’s just like such a dashing, like I love that he just lays it all on the table. He already wrote the book, there you go. He’s dashing, he’s just like everything you want a president to be. I think.
HW: Have you taken any time to analyze why the Spider-Man movies are so successful?
KD: I didn’t need to, because I lived it, you know? I’m like I’m part of it and I know why: because we never rested our laurels. We are all passionate for this franchise. The producers, the heads of Sony, all of us want to make a great movie. Obviously it’s about box office for the studio at the end of the day somewhere but we don’t want to produce just to produce. We really care for these characters – these people are so important to us. And Sam [Raimi] was working up to the last second, giving over the film. So we’re all very passionate, and Sam is such a hard worker.
HW: Mary Jane’s career kind of hits a rough spot as Peter’s Spider-Man career is kind of taking off and it causes some friction. Have you seen that kind of a thing or experienced that kind of a thing in Hollywood relationships, where two careers are not on the same plane and trouble follows?
KD: I’ve always been supportive. I think that it’s important to support whoever you’re with in their job. And I’ve never felt threatened, but I can understand if you’re in a position where maybe the other person doesn’t make you feel as confident or something in yourself. You know it really has to do with how you feel about yourself at the end of the day.
HW: Does your celebrity make it difficult for some guys to ask you out on a date?
KD: Oh, completely. I would, I would stay away from somebody who I could possibly, like who wants to be part of that whole thing, pictures being taken. Like you just have to live your life. I mean, I live a really normal life, but then you know occasionally, you’ve got to have a little bit of this stuff that’s not so fun to deal with. But then you know that person is not meant for me. I need somebody who can deal with all the aspects of who I am. Well, who can, not even take the heat, but just who can deal with it in a way that’s like ‘Who cares?’
HW: Did you feel like this is the end of your experience with Mary Jane?
KD: I think this is definitely the end to this trilogy. I think that we’ve closed this chapter. But if Sam and Tobey and I were to come back together, we would definitely do another movie.