Kirsten Dunst: ‘What people expect of an actor is totally ridiculous’

Kirsten Dunst Cover

Kirsten Dunst covers the September issue of Town & Country. It’s a decent shoot and she looks lovely. I’m sort of back in love with Kiki these days because I’m really looking forward to Fargo Season 2, and word is that Kirsten is wonderful in it, like she’s fulfilling the acting promise she had so many years ago. I also think it’s so smart for her to move into television, especially an already-acclaimed show like Fargo. I’m including the trailer for Season 2 at the end of the post! Anyway, Kiki chats about her boyfriend Garrett Hedlund (lucky girl) and much more with T&C. Some highlights:

Kirsten Dunst on the expectations of actors: “What people expect of an actor is totally ridiculous. It’s unfair that an artist is expected to speak really well in public and have skin tough enough to withstand sometimes really hurtful criticism, but also, in order to do the job, be really sensitive and in touch with their feelings. So all you can do is be yourself – just be who the hell you are.”

On how she used to be discouraged by the boys club mentality in Hollywood: “You know what? I felt that way when I was younger, particularly being on the Spider-Man sets, which was pretty much all guys. But the older I get, the less I feel that way. What I’ve found is that the cool guys now want to hang out with the cool girls.”

On her boyfriend, actor Garrett Hedlund: “We’ve been together for three and a half years, so, yes, it’s going really well. We’re the same age. We have similar backgrounds. He feels like family to me.”

On her character in FX’s Fargo, Peggy Blomquist, the mile-a-minute talking beautician, and the women in her family: “She is very much like me at my craziest, my mother at her craziest, my grandma at her craziest. I could really combine the nutsiest parts of the women in my family. Some of the things [my grandma] would say, how she said them—I had a lot of that inside me already.”

Moving to TV: “TV is a lot harder than film. A lot harder. When I got the part, my friend Lizzy [Caplan], who is on Masters of Sex, said, ‘Be sure to get B12 shots to get you through the week.’ I was like, ‘Really? That sounds very dramatic, Lizzy.’ By the third week I was all over the B12. It was one of the best roles I’ve ever played—the writing is spectacular—but by the end I was tapped out.”

Child stardom: “I know some young actresses who are better at it. Dakota Fanning reminds me a lot of myself, but she’s wiser than I was at her age.”

[From Town & Country]

The whole interview is pretty good and the vibe I get from her is that she’s in a very happy, contented place in her life. One of her directors says something about how she’s done the movie star thing and now she’s consciously moving into character acting, which sounds about right. And it’s a very smart move for her. She and Garrett seem to be going strong too, which is nice.


Photos courtesy of Cedric Buchet/Town & Country.

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60 Responses to “Kirsten Dunst: ‘What people expect of an actor is totally ridiculous’”

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  1. lisa2 says:

    What she said is spot on about how Celebrities are expected to behave. Not fair really. They really can’t win.

    I don’t really follow her and don’t find her particularly interesting; but I think she is a lot more talented than some of the females her age that are getting way too much attention.

    • RocketMerry says:

      She was always one of my fave actresses, she’s very interesting and captivating to watch on screen. I’m so glad she’s getting back on the acting radar, I missed her.
      AND she’s on point with her assessment of unfair expectations towards actors; I do feel like a moron sometimes when I bitch and gossip about them. Sometimes.

    • Kitten says:

      Agree with both of you. Love me some Kiki and her boyfriend is the hottest.

      Now I’ll have to watch Fargo.

      • Sullivan says:

        I really like her, too. She’s talented and she doesn’t try to fit into the Hollywood cookie-cutter mold.

  2. MrsBPitt says:

    Her first on-screen kiss was Brad Pitt, so I am forever jealous of KiKi!!!!!

    • LAK says:

      It always makes me laugh that at the time she was all ‘eeewwww kissing boys’ during the press tour which is a normal reaction for a 10-11yr old child, but it still makes me laugh.

      She was phenomenal in that role. I adore the film, possibly the last Tom Cruise film I watched, and she was the best thing in it.

      • hmph says:

        The more I think about it, the weirder I feel about it.
        Was it really necessary? Could they not have shot that differently or lit it in a way that it looks like a kiss but their lips never touched? Or an implied kiss? Or whatever! Just not having an adult kissing a child.
        Maybe I am overeacting but I find it pretty gross, still.

      • Jessica says:

        It’s not like it was a full on french kiss. It was pretty much a well shot peck on the lips, no different from the kind I greet family and friends with (I know that’s not usual in the US).

      • LAK says:

        HMPH: it wasn’t a passionate kiss nor where there tongues. It wasn’t meant to convey sexual attraction. It was an expression of love between centuries’ old vampires one of whom happened to be trapped in the body of a child.

        That scene *is* disturbing because of their physicality, but it conveys the loss that Kirsten’s character feels because she can never have a physical companion because she will always look like a child. In terms of age, they are both at least a century old.

      • hmph says:

        I know, I’ve seen the film I was just commenting on the necessity of it, but then I’m one of those people who think implied nudity/sex scenes/etc can be much more effective in conveying the same message.

      • LAK says:

        HMPH: i’m not one to advocate explicit love/sex scenes in films – very puzzled by the Chris Pratt thread since implied can be very sensual if well done – however in this case the kiss was appropriate. For the characters and for actual physical limitations of the real life actors.

  3. GlimmerBunny says:

    SO JEALOUS SHE’S DATING GARRETT HEDLUND. I’m even gonna see that horrible-looking Pan movie for him, that’s how much I love him.

    • mimif says:

      I KNOW. She’s a lucky girl indeed.

      Also, she looks like Karlie Kloss in that last pic.

    • Scout says:

      He’s not particularly known for being an outstanding actor because of the pretty boy thing maybe (or maybe he hasn’t gone the whole Daniel Day Lewis trajectory), but he’s really such a good actor in the few films I recall him being in.

    • Kitten says:

      He’s so effin’ sexy. Everything about him.
      The voice! Gah. He’s definitely one of my faves.

  4. Ally8 says:

    I love the movie Bachelorette and she’s fantastic in it.

  5. Mara says:

    I used to be incredibly irritated by Dunst but likewise she’s really grown on me over the past few years. I hopes she gets more high profile roles in movies, it must be frustrating to do really good work and have relatively few people see it – possibly one of the reasons she has moved into TV.

    • LAK says:

      It’s more than a lack of roles for her. She’s battled with depression for a very long time and stepped back for some years to deal with it. It’s really sad because she was once very bright and sparkly, but now you can see the toll of her disease. She works less for her wellbeing.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I didn’t know that. I hope she has found a way to cope. That’s so difficult.

      • BengalCat2000 says:

        Ibdidn’t know that either. Now I love her even more. I admire her for getting thru that and still making great films. I love her teeth and her style. I will have to watch Fargo now.

      • Lucy2 says:

        Yeah, I think she had a tough go of it for a while there, but in recent years seems to be doing better. It sounds like she’s found a balance for her life, and that’s good.
        I’ve always liked her, and I’m looking forward to seeing her in Fargo.

      • phlyfiremama says:

        Bengalcat2000 I love your name!! My rescue bengal Butterball is “helping” me type this right now!

  6. Gillian1 says:

    Well said, Kristen. I always liked her, and rate her talent.

  7. Mimz says:

    Nice editorial, not loving the cover outfit, but it’s cool
    I always had a nice feeling about her. She seems super cool. And she’s dating Garrett so that’s a bonus.
    Anyway, best of luck to her.

  8. Bichon says:

    While I expect actors to act, I neither expect them to be intelligent or kind. Some try to be both though and fail.

  9. Scout says:

    Just came from the AH thread. Anne Hathaway needs to take a page from KD’s book: be visible but not overly eager. KD is genuinely good at what she does, seems open without being closed off, and doesn’t appear fake and ambitious and eager to please all the time. What a contrast. But that dress on the cover is really weird.

  10. Esmom says:

    I like her, and I like what she has to say here. I’m surprised when she talked about unrealistic expectations that she didn’t mention looks and weight, because that’s got to wear a person down, too.

    She looks great, too, although on the cover it looks like she forgot her pants! This interview also reminded me that I need to check out Fargo.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I like her, too. I love the colors of the clothes on the cover, but find the actual pieces confusing. I don’t even know what to call them – the jacket and dress? The shirt and shirt? The jacket and shirt? The baby doll bathing suit with jewelry on it? But she looks very pretty anyhow.

      • Esmom says:

        Yes, I was confused by the pieces, too. I was getting “fancy baby doll pajama top with an unstructured jacket.” But “shirt and shirt” is also pretty accurate.

  11. Talie says:

    At this point, she’s lived so many lives and had so many ups and downs, I don’t blame her for just doing her.

  12. Naddie says:

    I seriously think (no, I’m sure) that she’s one of the best actresses alive. In Melancholy she was outstanding, and let’s not forget she made Mary Jane a very likeable character, which is not easy. She always finds the right tone, never fails. My only grudge about her is that hideous Bachelorette crap.

    • teacakes says:

      She’s a very natural actress, who was incredible even as a child/teen and didn’t lose the ability when she got to adulthood and adult parts.

      I feel like she never got the credit for being as good as she is because so much of her best work was in comedy or lower-profile movies that weren’t automatic Oscar bait – unlike, say, Natalie Portman. Until Cannes and Melancholia, that is (movie was far too dark and complex to serve as Oscar bait but it did make people sit up and take notice of her again). And as people have said, it really looks like she’s open to roles but consciously chooses not to get back in the full-scale publicity machine of Hollywood and big projects because she wants to stay healthy and not go back into depression or worse.

      (and her 90s/early 2000s teen movies are to my generation what Molly Ringwald’s teen movies were to the 80s. Clueless may get all the big noise, but Kiki did the absolutely fantastic Bring It On, Drop Dead Gorgeous and The Virgin Suicides, which had a cultlike influence on girls for years)

  13. MinnFinn says:

    Dunst’s accent is pretty good. I didn’t notice in the trailer, can we see actors’ breath in outdoor scenes? It’s my pet peeve dontcha know.

    I think Cohen brothers humor is rather brilliant. And I love their characters and getting to see well-known actors when they radically break away from their usual roles. I was hooked on Cohen bros starting with “O Brother Where Art Thou”. I also loved “Burn Without Reading”. Brad Pitt is hilarious in it.

  14. Kiddo says:

    Too much lace. I hope this isn’t a thing like everything fringe.

  15. phlyfiremama says:

    Please, spare me from poor little rich actresses moaning about actually EARNING those millions of dollars they make by actually doing WORK. (*Best Marlon Brando Voice) The horror…the horror…
    She does look super cute, she is a good actress, and her boyfriend is really hot!

    • Birdix says:

      I agree– if you want to be at the top of your field, these are the expectations and it is a meritocracy. I don’t know that expecting someone who speaks for a living to be reasonably articulate is a stretch. And having a thick skin is a requirement for any performing artist.

      • Anne says:

        I think she was just expressing that the self-imposed pressure to live up to various external expectations can be difficult at times. I agree with her. I didn’t read anything in her comments that gave me the impression that she was ungrateful or unwilling to do her best.

  16. mememe says:

    I will always love her for Melancholia. That oviedo proved she had serious acting chops. She should have won EVERY award for it!

    • I could not get through Melancholia. I found the pace so plodding. I’ve always liked Kirsten though, she’s usually spot on. I may try to watch it again.

      • chaine says:

        i agree. it was the most dreary slow movie. i didn’t get why people were raving about it.

      • Tig says:

        That movie was torture- and managed to make Alexander S look homely. Did love those beautiful black horses-it did have some striking images tho.

  17. renee28 says:

    I have a soft spot for her. She may not have the A list career but she managed to transition from child to adult actor fairly well and she will most likely be around after all these other starlets fade away.

  18. manta says:

    Is she really moving into a character now? Because she’s always been that to me.
    I’ve always liked her, her choices can be wrong sometimes but it’s a bit unfair to say she’s fulfilling only now some promises.
    She was the 1st american actress in almost 2 decades to win the acting prize in Cannes for Melancholia. She’s often the best part of her projects (see The two faces of January, On the road).
    Maybe because I loved her in Crazy/Beautiful or Dick, but I think small/medium indie flicks are for her.
    I’m suprised that her recurring role on ER didn’t already give her a taste of how hectic working for TV is though.

    • Don't kill me I'm French says:

      You are the first person that I read who wrote she is the best part on The Road.Finally I found someone who thinks like me

    • Jib says:

      Did you ever see her in “The Devil’s Arithmetic”? She was very good in it.

      But I agree – boo hoo, there are expectations on actresses, who earn millions playing make believe. I have expectations outside of work as a teacher, and I get paid FAR less than any of these people.

    • minime says:

      …and The Virgin Suicides!! She was amazing in there.

  19. Morse0412 says:

    I will forever love Kiki just because the movie Drop Dead Gorgeous exists. If you havent seen it go watch it now.

    • Keaton says:

      Loooove Drop Dead Gorgeous!!!

    • I Choose Me says:

      Yes. Fist bump for mentioning it.

      I also have mad love for the Virgin Suicides and Bring It On.

    • teacakes says:

      anyone who can, should also watch this 1998 film called The Hairy Bird. Underrated and barely known because Harvey Weinsten apparently ran scared at the idea of promoting a movie set in the 60s and about defending a girls’ school against closure, but it is freaking fantastic. And very feminist, which is probably an additional reason why it was under-publicised.

      (just to clarify, it has a 16 year old Kiki. And Vanessa Redgrave! With Gaby Hoffman in the lead – KD does have a significant role though)

  20. Ella says:

    I have always loved her. She’s captivating on screen and refreshingly different from her peers. So happy she’s back, can’t wait for Fargo 2.

  21. minime says:

    She wins 🙂
    She’s really a great actress and she managed to stay sane through her transition from being a child-actress. Plus Garrett Hedlund!

    The cover shoot is a bit strange…she’s beautiful, they could have done better.

    • Dee Kay says:

      I think those photos are horrendous. But I’ve never thought that Dunst photographed (in still photos) very well. Her film work is a different story — the camera loves her when she’s in motion.

  22. EN says:

    > What people expect of an actor is totally ridiculous. It’s unfair that an artist is expected to speak really well in public and have skin tough enough to withstand sometimes really hurtful criticism, but also, in order to do the job, be really sensitive and in touch with their feelings.

    I completely agree. I feel like so many people are cruel to celebrities, and treat them like inanimate objects without feelings. Or on the other end of the spectrum there are people who feel that celebrities deserve to suffer because they “signed up ” for it, i.e. they accepted emotional hurt and pain from being constantly judged in exchange for fame and money,

  23. sparkles says:

    “What people expect of an actor is totally ridiculous.”

    Uh no….what people expect of teachers is ridiculous. Or coal miners, nurses, corrections officers, President of the US.

    It’s annoying what she has to go through, sure, but she’s compensated VERY well and has great perks on top of it. Go find a new line of work if it’s not for you.

    • teacakes says:

      oh yeah, the old ‘ there are starving children in Africa!’ line of argument.

      someone always has it worse than you, doesn’t mean things can’t be bad.

  24. I Choose Me says:

    Okay, I’m loving the top under the jacket thingie but where’s the bottom half?