When your first role with 12 years is already a major part opposite Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, you can be sure that there’s more to come. That was the case with Kirsten Dunst. She’s one of the actresses who never fails to surprise us. Once you had her labelled as a romantic comedy actress, she turns everyhing around by playing the leading role in a Lars von Trier film. Not bad at all. So it’s no surprise that her new film, the thriller THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY, is one more interesting addition to her Vita. Let us present you the unpredictable Kirsten Dunst in this week’s spotlight.
After having already played a few minor parts (including one in Woody Allen’s short film Oedipus Wrecks), Kirsten Dunst was chosen to play the child vampire Claudia in INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, opposite none other than Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. Even if the film itself received mixed reviews, the critics couldn’t stop praising the impressive performance of the 12 year old Kirsten. The New York Times wrote „Ms Dunst, scarily effective as the baby bloodsucker of Interview with the Vampire, is a little vamp with a big future.“
And so it was. The „little vamp“ continued her career by starring in the drama LITTLE WOMEN, opposite Winona Ryder. The film was highly praised and called the best adaptation of the novel so far. Dunst showed an early interest to pick interesting roles and not to get stuck in one pattern. She starred in one episode of Emergency Room, where she played a child prostitute. A daring choice for such a young actress in Hollywood.
There was something mysterious about her, and maybe it was exactly that, what motivated Sophia Coppola to choose her for the female leading part in her first feature film THE VIRGIN SUICIDES. Her portrayal of the troubled adolescent Lux Lisbon brought her again international recognition because of the way she „beautifully balanced innocence and wantonness“ .
In 2000 she surprised once more by appearin in the comedy BRING IT ON, where she played a captain of a cheerleading squad. After her previous choices of roles it was refreshing to see her exploring her talent as a comedian in a more light film than those before.
The most successful film of her career to date was 2002 SPIDER- MAN, where she played the best friend and love interest of Peter Parker, played by Tobey Maguire. Critics noted her ability to „lend even the smallest line a tickle of flirtatious music.“
Following the success of Spider-Man she starred in many major productions the following years, including the drama LEVITY, MONA LISA SMILE and ETERNAL SUNSHINE OD THE SPOTLESS MIND.
Dunst reprised her role as Mary Jane Watson in 2004 in SPIDER-MAN 2. It was the highest grossing film of that year. She stuck to the more commercial films, in accepting to play the leading part in romantic comedy WIMBLEDON and Cameron Crowes ELIZABETHTOWN. Even if those films weren’t particularly bad, her roles were missing that special something she was able to show at the beginning of her career. In this time Dunst seemed to be stuck in the world of commercial films, always repeating the same type of roles.
That changed when she worked for the second time with Sophia Coppola, who chose her to portray MARIE ANTOINETTE in her 2006 film. Even if the film received mixed reviews, you can credit her for starring in a more experimental film, which the people either loved or hated. After starring one last time in the Spider-Man Trilogie in 2007, she starred in some small movies the following years and kept it low key.
Only to return with a role, that couldn’t have surprised more: She accepted to portray a depressed woman at the end of the world in Lars von Triers MELANCHOLIA. The film premiered at Cannes, where it was one of the most talked about films, not just because of its director but also because of Dunst’s fearless perfomance: „Dunst ist exceptional, so utterly convincing in the lead role- trouble, serene, a fierce savant- that it feels like a career breakthrough.“ (The Daily Telegraph). Her performance won her the Best Actress Award at Cannes.
Dunst always keeps a good balance between lighter comedies and experimental roles, she always keeps moving and that’s what characterises an interesting actress. We don’t know about you, but we’ll be definitely checking out her performance in THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY. With Kirsten Dunst you never know what to expect.