Kirsten Dunst: Another actress called ‘Bring It On’ a ‘dumb cheerleader movie’

It’s really remarkable how many of those mid-budget studio romances, comedies and teen movies from the 1990s and early 00s really stand the test of time. Or perhaps some of them have problematic parts, but there’s just such an innocent haze over them, or they still have some kind of cult-like following. Dazed & Confused, Clueless, She’s All That, most of Adam Sandler’s oeuvre. Among those cult classics was 2000’s Bring It On, a silly movie about cheerleader drama and theft/appropriation. It’s a completely fun movie starring Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku and Gabrielle Union. It’s probably one of Dunst’s most popular films and she’s completely amazing as an upbeat, popular blonde at the very top of the cheerocracy pyramid who has to use her brain to problem solve her way out of the previous cheer captain’s theft of East Compton’s cheer routines. None of that sounds like a recipe for a hit movie, and yet it was. But to hear Kirsten tell it, Bring It On was not a respected choice at the time:

Kirsten Dunst’s feelings were once hurt by a fellow actress who dismissed Bring It On to her face. Dunst — who scored her first Oscar nomination for The Power of the Dog earlier this week (alongside her real-life partner Jesse Plemons for the same film, no less) — recalled on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast how a peer dissed her for starring in the popular 2000 cheerleading comedy.

“During that age I was wanting to be taken seriously too, so I think that even though it was so successful I think there’s part of me that always checks myself or checks what’s around me. I remember another actress said something, actually,” she said. “She was like, ‘Well, I’m not in a dumb cheerleader movie’ or something. Her saying that just made me feel so terrible about myself.”

“It’s so funny how one thing can really— it’s not any of the good that sticks out; it’s the one bad thing that really sticks out to you always,” added Dunst.

Directed by Peyton Reed, Bring It On also starred Gabrielle Union, Eliza Dushku and Jesse Bradford. It spawned several movie sequels and a Broadway musical. Dunst, 39, said the popularity was a “complete surprise” to her at the time.

“It just goes to show you never know what’s going to hit and resonate with people. I had no idea,” she said. “I don’t have that perspective when I’m making it or even watching it. I watched it and was like, ‘Oh, this is fun’ and my brother was like, ‘This is gonna be huge!’ And I was like, ‘Really, Christian?’ He was like, ‘Yes!’ “

[From People]

I looked up her IMDB just because I wanted some context for “”During that age I was wanting to be taken seriously too.” In a three year period between 1999-2001, she was in Bring It On, The Virgin Suicides, Dick (an excellent movie), Drop Dead Gorgeous, Crazy/Beautiful, The Cat’s Meow and about a half-dozen other projects. She was working constantly and turning out some really good movies and great performances. How dare this unnamed actress shame her for Bring It On! That movie actually looked really hard – all of the actors probably had to learn a lot of those cheers AND remember their lines and blocking and all of that. Blind item: who was the actress who badmouthed Bring It On? WAS IT REESE??? I bet it was Gwyneth Paltrow. It sounds more Paltrow-esque. It definitely has the flavor of blonde-on-blonde crime.

Promotional images from ‘Bring It On’.

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95 Responses to “Kirsten Dunst: Another actress called ‘Bring It On’ a ‘dumb cheerleader movie’”

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  1. RoSco says:

    I put my money on Reese. I feel like Gwyneth would have been more passive aggressive. Also, when I read the headline I thought “well it’s a silly movie but definitely not dumb.” When I read the article, I was pleased to see you described it as silly, too.

    • kirk says:

      I’ve never heard Gwyneth Paltrow say anything mean about anybody, not that I’ve watched her closely. She sounded goofy and fun in Howard Sterns interview.

      • Lena says:

        This made me look up JLo’s infamous interview. And it was in 1998. So before Kristin was in that movie anyway. Maybe Reese because in her comedies she was playing high school student running for office and a law school student. It could be someone that isn’t even that big anymore, like Gretchen Mol, Amber Valetta.

      • Annaloo. says:

        Gwyneth bags on everyone, mostly about food and wealth ( I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to make 25k a year) to the frenemy shade towards Winona and/or Madonna to her always pointing out that her parents were happy when she and Ben Affleck broke up. I don’t know if she bagged Bring it On, but it is her style.

      • Meg says:

        Really? She certainly has.
        Off the top of my head I remember she criticized Reese Witherspoon by name in an interview saying she did ‘dumb movies’ every once in a while because she clearly needed the money, but Gwyneth didn’t need to do that. So again shaming someone for not being born on third base so to speak

      • Thinking says:

        Gwyneth disses a lot of things, including her ex-boyfriends.

        She even said being with her ex-husband who is father to her two kids was like being with her brother, which ew.

    • BettyBlueNails says:

      Reese is a Southern girl. People down here know how competitive cheerleading is and Reese would absolutely know. She wouldn’t badmouth cheerleading.

  2. Becks1 says:

    I don’t think it would have been Gwyneth because by 2000, she had won her Oscar and her career was well established, she was taken seriously as an actress, etc.

    I definitely get a Reese vibe from it, especially at the time period, that was right around when Legally Blonde came out (2001), Sweet home Alabama was 2002, and I imagine she was probably already planning her breakout from romantic comedies to Oscar-potential movies. so I can see her making the “at least it’s not a dumb cheerleader movie” comment.

    I like Bring It On, but my favorite teenage rom com from that era will forever be 10 Things I hate About You.

    • Snuffles says:

      I don’t think it was Reese. Precisely because she did do Legally Blonde. Same vibes.

      Gwyneth IS that catty. But she was doing Shallow Hal, so that would be hypocritical.

      It could be an actress that faded away like Gretchen Mol who was touted as the next big thing at the time. Or Scarlet Johannsen who was just breaking out.

      • Becks1 says:

        See that’s why I think Reese makes sense. She was making rom-coms at the time, but probably considered hers to be more “high brow” or something. Plus that was before her whole image rehab thing when she was known to be catty and snotty.

        But that said, I think ScarJo is a good choice as well. She would definitely have a “I’m better than you” attitude about rom coms and something like Bring It On.

      • NotSoSocialB says:

        Precisely. Didn’t she pull the, “Don’t you know who I am” shit during her husband’s DUI stop, in which she notably & drunkenly ranted at the arresting officer in pinnacle ku*ty Karen-style?

      • Thelma says:

        +1 Not Reese because she did Legally Blonde

    • Merricat says:

      Oooh, I vote Julia Stiles.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        eh, I know Stiles and this is NOT something she’d say. she’s a lot more laid back than that, and not catty.

        My money is also on, as Kevin Smith called her, “Greasy Reese”.

      • Merricat says:

        Fair enough! I’ve never met her.

    • Murphy says:

      10 Things I Hate About You was the absolute peak, you’re right. It was always the best in my mind too.

    • Valerie says:

      10 Things is my #1 too! I got to see it in theaters a few years ago, and it was so much fun. Never Been Kissed is another fave, albeit a problematic one.

  3. EDI says:

    For Black girls Bring it On is a cult classic and was NEVER just a silly cheerleader movie. Gabrielle Union in that role was iconic for us. FYI. It also spoke to double standards, cultural appropriation, ‘microagressions’ which is really a white approved term for racism- all of which we were going through back then and didn’t have the words to articulate it. And for us it’s a Gabrielle Union film.

    • EDI says:

      I’ll try again….referencing blond in blond crime as play on Black on Black
      Crime…is not the innocent joke that many may think it is.

    • kirk says:

      Thanks for the critique on Bring It On, not sure I’ve ever seen it. Thought Kirsten Dunst did amazing job in Mona Lisa smile with Julia Roberts. Loved, loved her in Drop Dead Gorgeous – hilarious.

    • KansasGal says:

      @EDI Thank you! This 1000%. Not a silly movie at all – it was a very serious movie that made its message palatable with humor. And it gave us “jazz hands!” RESPECT this Gabrielle Union movie!

    • Annaloo. says:

      Yes, this. This film was not a dumb cheerleader movie. It was deep social commentary

      • Meg says:

        Exactly! It touched on appropriation in a time I don’t believe it was talked about in mainstream movies like this so it certainly wasn’t dumb so whoever criticized it as dumb I’m sure that went over their head 🙄

      • lucy2 says:

        I agree, it’s much deeper than it seems.

    • Bettyrose says:

      I’ve always loved it and wondered about that. Thanks for sharing!

    • Myjobistoprincess says:

      Loved Bring it on. kirsten was great, loved her from the time she did interview with a vampire. Girl has so much acting talen. And her kitchen is wow. Love her home dec style (open door/vogue) Gwyneth could have said something high nose like that – she’s so annoyingly disconnected. But somebody very ambitious and too spontaneous mouth could also have said it also, someone like JLo type.

  4. Driver8 says:

    I love her. She’s just so good in everything. I remember being really impressed by her performance in The Cat’s Meow. Underrated movie. And Dick is EVERYTHING.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Dick is an underrated, hilarious gem of a film with Kirsten and Michele Williams. Dan Hedaya was a great Nixon.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      agree completely on “Dick”….so underrated and funny as HECK!

  5. C-Shell says:

    I was too old for Bring It On when it was released so didn’t know anything about the movie, the actors involved or it’s popularity, but NOW I WANT TO WATCH IT! My money’s on Goop, but Reese isn’t out of the question. I love “blonde on blonde crime”.

    • P says:

      I was 10 years old when it came out and loved it, of course, but my mom also loved it! She texts me every time it comes on TV!

  6. matthew says:

    Probably not Gwyneth. Spence girls trash you behind your back not to your face.

    • Annaloo. says:

      She barely passed Spence, and she needed Daddy’s friend to call and get her into college bc her grades were not going to do it

  7. Lauren R says:

    I think the actress who said something like that sounds full of themselves. Takes the world way too seriously and only makes “art” or “historical pieces.” They sound quite pretentious in my mind so… Maggie G?

  8. FancyPants says:

    Bring It On hasn’t aged well at all. It has a lot of homophobic slurs and slut-shaming in it. I remember liking the movie back when I saw it in college, but when I watched it again a few years ago, it was just plain embarrassing. (I’m also embarrassed to say I’ve seen at least two of the sequels and the homophobia is definitely a feature, not a bug.)
    Edited to add: one of the sequels also has a principal or dean who definitely was lusting after the head cheerleader. Gross.

    • Lexilla says:

      I just watched Bend it Like Beckham again and while much of it still holds up, the coach/player relationship and homophobia-for-laughs did not age well. It’s sad to think of watching it back then with no awareness of that.

  9. smegmoria says:

    Kirsten is so underrated. Drop Dead Gorgeous is just amazing.

    • Shoop says:

      It’s so good, and has a great crop of supporting actors, Amy Adams and Brittany Murphy are hilarious.

    • Insight says:

      It was amazing. Denise Richards is so undervalued as a comedic actress. She stole the entire thing.

    • lucy2 says:

      I finally watched Drop Dead Gorgeous a while ago – it was so good! Great cast. I’ve always like Kirsten, she’s been in a lot of good films, always does good work, and seems like a decent person.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      One of my all time favorite films. Terrific cast, great comedic writing & a very specific weird universe the characters get to play in. I love to introduce people to that movie & watch their reactions when Denise Richards does her talent number.

    • dj says:

      I am so glad Drop Dead Gorgeous is finally getting some love. My husband and I love that movie. So many, many good future up-n-coming stars in it. I have to watch it again now.

    • Fig says:

      I loved DDG too! Such an underrated movie

    • JanetDR says:

      Lines from Drop Dead Gorgeous pop into my mind and out of my mouth probably more often than appropriate 😂. So darn funny!

  10. Dlc says:

    Sounds like a jealous comment from a not quite so successful actress. I think Kirsten received critical acclaim from the Virginia suicides.

  11. Zadie says:

    My guess would be someone closer to her age than Reese or Gwyneth.
    I think someone like Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman. They both have overly inflated egos & rarely do comedic films.

    • milliemollie says:

      Good guesses! I can see both doing it, and I agree that it was someone her age.

    • Marcie says:

      My guess is Scarlett, it just sounds like something the woman who could play a tree would say.

    • C says:

      I don’t think it was Portman. She did Where the Heart Is the same year and that’s hardly some highbrow piece of culture. Johansson was doing stuff like The Horse Whisperer and was in Eight Legged Freaks in 2002. They didn’t really start being “opinionated” till a bit later.

      It could have been anyone. I would vote Gwyneth, Leelee Sobieski as someone below stated, or Jena Malone….anyone.

      • Murphy says:

        I could see it being Natalie, she had just done Star Wars Episode I and Where The Heart Is was an award winning novel, plus wasn’t she horrible to Mila Kunis on the set of Black Swan? (or are we supposed to believe that was method acting?)

      • Thinking says:

        I think it was Portman because she has always been marketed as a prestige actress with aspirations towards real art blah blah blah despite starring in Star Wars movies. I can’t really think of anyone else in that age range who was marketed like that at the time. Even ScarJo’s marketing was a little bit down-to-earth … sort of.

    • Nikki says:

      I think yours are the best guesses so far, Zadie!

  12. backinblack says:

    Gwyneth has criticised Reese Witherspoon for starring in rom coms

    “Even actresses that you really admire, like Reese Witherspoon, you think, another romantic comedy? You know.” She sighs. “You see her in something like Walk the Line and think, God, you’re so great. And then you think, why is she doing these stupid romantic comedies? But of course it’s for money and status. I just think, wouldn’t it be great if all of those movies people went to see were about real women?””

    • WiththeAmerican says:

      Because Reese isn’t from Hollywood royalty and actually had to make a living. Reese is not perfect but I never saw her as this catty type. Gwen, given everything including an Oscar she didn’t earn and cosplaying aryan princess, is the type who thinks she’s so superior.

      Reese was in a lot of other movies, before the rom coms, in which she was amazing. Gwyn has always played the same role, pretty, blank, empty and entitled.

      • Honora says:

        True, Reese was amazing in fear, election, and cruel intentions before her rom com era. I don’t blame her for making money, she’s a great producer now so seems like her plan worked out.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        “Reese is not perfect but I never saw her as this catty type.”

        she’s changed a bit, but she did used to be catty.

        google “Greasy Reese Kevin Smith” and read about his encounter with her earlier in her career.

      • WiththeAmerican says:

        @whatwhat I worked with her for every single day for a whole picture. I got a good up close look at her behavior.

        I’m not caping for her, I was shocked to see her drunken crappy behavior in that pull over by police in GA, but I worked with her for months on one of her biggest pictures and she was nothing but kind and professional.

        She didn’t have to be nice to me, but she was so kind that when I was working on my next picture people referred to me as “Reese’s friend” and believe me, I got treated much better for it.

        This isn’t something I would normally bring up as it’s just not done, but you replied specifically to my general comment about her and Gwen and referenced how she used to be, with Kevin Smith as her alleged victim. I’m afraid I have to agree with her, he writes juvenile crap that I can’t stand.

      • Becks1 says:

        @WithThe American – how long ago was that? Because supposedly this comment was around 2000, and Reese had a very different reputation at that point in time (one of my college best friends went to the same school as her in Nashville, and her reputation was…..not good.) But I think she either grew up after the drunk driving incident (or maybe after the Oscar) and changed….or at least started keeping her mouth shut.

        And she’s not Hollywood royalty but she is still from a very privileged place in life, she was never some scrappy actress down to her last two cents.

    • Honora says:

      I’d have to agree with GP on that, Reese is doing very good series now but had a moment with bad movies. I feel the same way about Jennifer Anniston and Jlo. I liked Anniston in friends and the morning show but all that junk she puts out with Sandler, Jason sudokus etc is boring to me. I’m not sure who enjoys those movies to make them so profitable. Jlo is pretty, so it’s nice to watch her but even so watching two hours of a predictable romance with not so good jokes is not fun for me, especially with all the interesting international romantic series we have access to on netflix now. I watched lily Collins new movie, she actually costars with Kirsten’s husband, on Netflix last night it was unique and interesting. The movie Maggie Gyllenhaal directed Olivia Coleman in last year was amazing. Luckily we do have better female characters to watch lately compared to the era where Reese was doing those lame movies.

    • Thinking says:

      Ouch, Gwyneth.

    • Nikki says:

      Gwyneth is one of my least favorite celebrities. So insufferable! Reese is a terrific actor, and a super successful businesswoman.

      • Annaloo. says:

        This reminds me that saw an artist’s dollhouse online completely lambasting Gwyneth. It’s hilarious and a little biting with its mean girl smears throughout the house, but I think it’s safe to say that there are a lot of folks who dislike Gwyneth and her Gwynethisms

    • lucy2 says:

      Gwenyth is such a b. She has such a high opinion of herself, and steps on everyone else to build herself up. And look how the two turned out – Reese reset her career, does good work, and is a producing powerhouse, and Gwenyth is selling snakeoil.

    • Toquiro says:

      It so weird to me that Gwyneth is criticizing rom-coms when she’s done them herself. Is it only OK when she does them?

    • Kaykay says:

      What the heck kind of bull crab is that, Goop?
      What about Austin Powers and so on?
      Wow, wow, wow, Incredible.

      Let me fix that for you:
      “Even actresses that you really admire, like Gwyneth Paltrow, you think, another romantic comedy? You know.” She sighs. “You see her in something like Shakespeare in Love and think, God, you’re so great. And then you think, why is she doing these stupid romantic comedies like Shallow Hal and View from the Top? And then all the Marvel movies, but of course it’s for money and status. I just think, wouldn’t it be great if all of those movies people went to see were about real women?”

      It was actually HARD to find a movie where she excelled because all her roles are super bland and nasal.

  13. Thinking says:

    This sounds like something Natalie Portman would say during that period in her life when she’d say things like “I’d rather be smart than be a movie star.”

    I feel other actresses in her age range would also care about her opinion.

  14. HandforthParish says:

    I always found Crazy/beautiful to be a very underrated film. There was great chemistry between the two leads and it felt very ‘real’.

    • Lena says:

      Crazy/beautiful was my guilty pleasure. Actually Kristin and the actresses her age were lucky not to be about ten years older like GP, Anniston and Reese because there was a huge draught of decent parts for women of their age from the mid 2000s to early 2010s. In fact that still would be true except for the rise in steaming.


    I bet Leelee Sobieski. She worked with Kubrick and James Ivory at a young age. She criticized teen comedies on press tours.

    • C says:

      I would vote for this too. Or Gwyneth.

    • Trina says:

      My goodness, I completely forgot about her. And she was so striking looking. It could be anyone, that’s the problem with blind items IMO. I can’t stand Scarjo or Maggie G so of course I would like to think it’s them, but it’s probably not. You have a very dark horse idea here though. Could be.


        In 2000 Scar Jo was filming Eight Legged Freaks with Kari Wuhrer, the queen of direct-to-video movies. She still wasn’t a big deal.

  16. emma says:

    Her parents named their two kids Kirsten and . . . Christian? lol

    My sisters named their respective sons (who are almost the same age) Archer and Asher, so I have no stones to throw, it’s just funny to me.

    • Lol I unfortunately can relate: not only did my parents give my brother and I very similar sounding names like this, but they even took the extra step of changing around the spelling so that our names would match even more, instead of just spelling the names as they’re “normally” seen. We used to get so upset when we were little because teachers were ALWAYS misspelling our names!

    • Fredegunda says:

      I mean, it is irrelevant since AFAIK she isn’t Scandi, but in Norwegian those names sound very different. Kirsten sounds like sheer-sten and Christian sounds like chris-tee-ahn.

    • milliemollie says:

      Her dad is German, and Kirsten and Christian sound quite different in German.

  17. Thinking says:

    Gwyneth is about 10 years older than Kristen. I can’t really seeing her care about a younger person’s career that much or thinking about a cheerleader movie at the age that she was when the comment was made. Kristen as a child starred with Brad Pitt in Interview With a Vampire, and maybe that could set off Gwyneth, but again Kristen was so young I just can’t see Gwyneth caring.

  18. Nikki says:

    I’m a bit dyslexic, and was so startled to read that a deer pissed her for her choice! 🙂

  19. LarkspurLMM says:

    I said, brr, it’s cold in here. Must be some Toros in the atmosphere.

    LOVE Bring It On!

    • whatWHAT? says:

      “I know you don’t think a white girl made that sh*t up”

      it really is a great and fun movie. it surprised me funny it was, how much I liked it and how it actually DID have social commentary.

  20. Eggbert says:

    Bring It On is great and I think Drop Dead Gorgeous is freakin’ hilarious. It’s like Best in Show and Spinal Tap but for a small town beauty pageant.

  21. Goldie says:

    I’m pretty sure it was Natalie Portman. I was kinda a fan girl of her’s back in the day, so I read a lot of her interviews. She would say things like “Everyone thinks I’m so serious, because don’t do dumb comedies like other actresses my age.” She and Kirsten were both child/ teen stars who came up at around the same time, so it makes sense.

  22. Mrs. Smith says:

    Full transparency—this bit of gossip was on Deux Moi, so take it as you will. But! There was post from the SAG awards (with photos!) and a thinly veiled blind about an actress (Reese) who was talking so much trash about another actress (Nicole) that her friend (Naomi Watts) went to Nic’s table to tell her. Reese is a sh*ttalker from WAY back, so I believe this one. That being said, I think the ‘dumb cheerleader movie’ gripe was made by ScarIo. She was probably competing with Kiki for parts back then and had a deep eye roll when rejected.

  23. SnarcasmQueen says:

    I wish we as a culture didn’t have such a problem with “dumb” things. Bring It On was dumb but so? Not everything needs to be classy or high brow to be liked or even adored.

  24. Kaykay says:

    I love Bring It On.
    I haven’t seen it in about 15-20 years, but I saw it so many times back in the day.

    I just find the comment so weird though. I feel like it’s a response to something.
    “She was like, ‘Well, I’m not in a dumb cheerleader movie’
    I wonder what was said before that, to spark that backlash.