Kirsten Dunst on Her Emmy Nomination and Life After ‘Fargo’

As a child actor turned Hollywood star, Kirsten Dunst has done her share of soul-searching. So to play Peggy Blumquist, a beautician on the road to self-actualization who veers off course after committing a hit-and-run in FX’s “Fargo,” she turned inward.

“I work a lot with what I’m dreaming, so for me it’s kind of like making a little witch’s brew of stuff,” Ms. Dunst said of creating her character for the anthology’s second chapter. “The writing is so good, but to make a very full person takes a lot of self-exploration.”

In turn, Peggy — Ms. Dunst’s first recurring television role since playing the runaway Charlie Chiemingo on “ER” nearly 20 years ago — rewarded her with her first Emmy nomination, for outstanding lead actress in a limited series. The 68th Emmy Awards will be on Sept. 18.

In a recent phone conversation from Los Angeles, Ms. Dunst talked about the role that was meant to be, the expectations of Hollywood and where she thinks Peggy might have ended up. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

Congratulations on your nomination.

Thank you. It’s a tough category. I feel like there are so many great actresses and it’s an honor, but I wish they would just nominate and no one had to win. You know what I mean? Comparison is just the thief of joy.

In some strange way, the role of Peggy seems a natural for you.

It doesn’t happen very often like this, but [the writer and showrunner] Noah [Hawley] and I had our meeting, and as I left his office I was like, “I think that this is mine.” And on the way home I called my agent, and my manager called me, and they were like, “It’s yours.”

What do you think Noah saw in you?

I said something about style, like “a little goes a long way,” and he was like, “Oh, that’s Peggy for me.” And also my roots. My grandma, who has passed now, was from Minnesota. She didn’t really have an accent but she had a Midwestern quality about her, and she grew up on a farm. So it’s in my wheelhouse.

To quite a few viewers, Peggy was at once lovable and terrible. How did you see her?

Now that it’s over and edited and I saw the show, I think that she’s someone that just lives totally on her own planet. She probably should be on some meds. She’s a victim of the time and she’s trying to break boundaries, and I think she thinks she’s invincible.

A small-town woman trying to get out, or just plain unstable?

I think this situation of hitting the guy sends her over the edge. Because she’s just about to enter this precipice of going to Lifespring and doing all these things for herself, and then this happens and totally derails her plan. But she thinks she can still get away with it all — and she is getting away with it for a while, so I think it’s kind of a weird high. She just keeps looking forward and doesn’t see things very rationally.

In the final episode, Peggy speaks of her desire to choose her own path and not be defined by someone else’s expectations. Was there anything that resonated with your situation in Hollywood? You’ve said in the past that what people expect of actors is totally ridiculous.

I definitely put my own frustrations into what Peggy was saying. I don’t have a hard time with [expectations], I think, because I’ve been working for so long in this industry. But people put on different personas, and I could never do that, like on talk shows or in life or in meetings. I just have to be myself. I can’t fake it. But I do think that people want you to be a lot of different things as a female actress, and it’s up to you to navigate that and take care of yourself and not try to please.

Your coming movies include “The Beguiled,” your third film with Sofia Coppola, and “Woodshock,” written and directed by Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the designers behind Rodarte. What’s it like working with such close friends?

Now she’s a friend, but Sofia was always like an older sister to me — someone who I always looked up to. It’s so nice when you find a director that you’re their actress, and to work with your friends is always the best. Laura and Kate I met because I was the first actress to wear their clothing, and eventually we got to know each other. We’re very similar in our family values and living in Los Angeles in the Valley, and they’re very unique, fun women and soul mates of mine. You can create better things together when you know each other.

You know Peggy as well as anyone. What do you imagine she’s up to these days?

Maybe Peggy escaped, again, and lives off the grid in El Paso.

Kathryn Shattuck, The New York Times

Kirsten Dunst Is Happy People Are Seeing Her Work In “Fargo,” But Wishes Grandma Could Have Too

Kirsten Dunst and Patrick Wilson were on opposite ends of the law in the second season of “Fargo.” But Noah Hawley’s acclaimed crime-thriller had a common effect on their careers, putting them back squarely in the mainstream.

Dunst’s repressed Minnesota housewife on “Fargo” hoarded beauty magazines, owned grand dreams that sometimes turned into weird visions and acted out in strange, often scary ways.

“She’s nuts,” Dunst says, laughing.

The versatile actress visited The Envelope recently for a video interview to talk about “Fargo” and her career, part of our series of Emmy season conversations. We so enjoyed the conversation that we asked her to stick around a bit. Here are excerpts from what Dunst said after the cameras were turned off.

We hadn’t seen you much before “Fargo.” Had you made a conscious decision to take something of a break?

I’m someone who waits. And my manager will be like, “You need to work! Look at this script!” But I can’t do it. I physically can’t do it. I think it’s because I’ve been working so long that I’m kind of at a normal person’s retirement age.

You’ve been acting for 30 years …

I started when I was 3 and I just turned 34. I should be a retiree! I’m tired! I’m not hustling. I’m happy to spend my summer off and then work with Sofia [Coppola] in the fall. Do I need to squeeze another project in there? No!

The projects you have made lately have been independent films …

… which don’t pay much. And no one sees. That was what was amazing about “Fargo.” My mom’s saying, “I went to Bloomingdale’s and everyone’s telling me how much they loved ‘Fargo.’” It’s been awhile since anyone has said anything to her.

No Lars von Trier fans in her circle?

[Laughs] I remember I went to that same Bloomingdale’s at the Fashion Square mall in the Valley and I was perusing the shoe section and one of the women came up to me, sweetly, but also curt too, saying, “I miss you in film.” And meanwhile I had done “Melancholia.” I had done films, just not the kind normal audiences would ever seek out and see. So doing “Fargo” was such a relief. People were actually seeing my work.

You spent six months filming “Fargo” in Calgary. Allison Tolman told me Bob Odenkirk was a great advance scout in the first season, finding the bookstore and the good restaurants …

Oh, I found the good restaurant. Model Milk. Such an odd name. We also found the casino. I won a lot of money! I love gambling, but I’m not bad with my money at all. I will take like $300, put it aside and only gamble with that. I’m very conservative. If I win, I walk away for sure. And I won over $1,000 in under two minutes playing slots.

No wonder you don’t need to work. You can fall back on gambling!

[Laughs] I’m not that big of a gambler! I gambled twice over the course of the past year.

It sounds like watching “Fargo” was something of a family activity with you and your mom and your brother.

My only wish is that my grandma could have seen it. She’s from Minnesota and she passed away before I did all this. That was the most heartbreaking thing for me watching it. My grandma would have gotten such a kick out of “Fargo.” We were very close. I was born on her birthday.

Did you incorporate her at all in your work on the show?

Oh, I used everything. A little dash of my grandmother. My dreams. Things that annoy me. People on set. I used everything possible to give my character an inner life that felt grounded. But it’s not like I felt my grandmother’s presence on set. I did have one blatant moment with her though … with a hummingbird. I was driving home from a friend’s house and this hummingbird was in the middle of the street and it wouldn’t move. And it forced me to stop my car. I drove home and told my mom what happened because that’s not in the nature of a hummingbird to do that. They’re always dashing around. And my mom realized that it was the day my grandma passed. So I think it was my grandma saying “hi.”

Glenn Whipp, latimes.com

I’ve added a gorgeous pic of Kirsten taken by Los Angeles Times photographer Kirk McKoy to the gallery.

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Kirsten Talks Fargo

Earlier today Kirsten took part in a live interview on Facebook with Glenn Whipp from the Los Angeles Times. The interview focused on “Fargo Season 2” but they also briefly talked about Kirsten’s time in Cannes & her upcoming movie projects. You can watch the video here.

Thanks to condsadrishtayn for the link to the video.

The Hollywood Reporter Drama Actress Roundtable

In March The Hollywood Reporter held a roundtable with actresses Jennifer Lopez, Kerry Washington, Julianna Margulies, Sarah Paulson, Kirsten Dunst, Regina King & Constance Zimmer. The May 27th issue of “The Hollwood Reporter” magazine will feature their discussion & photoshoots of all seven actresses.

You can read part of the discussion, see some of the beautiful photoshoot pics, & watch videos of the roundtable discussion at hollywoodreporter.com

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We’re Back

Hi everyone. Apologies that most of the website has been offline since yesterday. I’m still not totally sure what happened but we’ve finally got it fixed. Anyway here’s a short video interview with Kirsten talking about being a member of the Palme d’Or Jury.

 

Variety Studios Actors On Actors

On April 2nd Kirsten & “Mr Robot” actor Rami Malek filmed their segment for Season 4 of “Variety Studios Actors on Actors” series. This is a series of candid conversations between leading actors from this seasons most acclaimed television programs. The two episode series will air on PBS SoCal on June 12th & 19th at 7.00 pm (Kirsten & Rami’s conversation will feature in episode 2). The June 7th issue of Variety magazine will also feature the conversation. More details can be found here & here.

As you may know Kirsten & Rami are friends & they both attended Notre Dame High School (Rami graduated a year before Kirsten).

I’ve added some pics of Kirsten & Rami at the filming to the gallery.

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Kirsten On The Radio

Here are four radio interviews that Kirsten did during her whistle-stop UK promotional tour for “Midnight Special” on March 31st. First up is Kirsten being interviewed on the BBC “Radio 1 Breakfast Show” (Kirsten’s interview starts at 1 hour 35 minutes). Next is her interview on “Steve Wright in the Afternoon” on BBC Radio 2 (the interview was broadcast on the April 5th show). Kirsten was also interviewed by guest host Nemone on the “Lauren Laverne” show on BBC Radio 6 Music (Kirsten’s interview starts at 2 hours 8 minutes). Finally Kirsten was interviewed on the “Edith Bowman at Breakfast” show on Virgin Radio (the interview was broadcast on the April 6th show).

I’ve also added pics of Kirsten at all four radio shows to the gallery.

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Kirsten on “Lorraine”

Kirsten was a guest on this mornings edition of “Lorraine” where she was interviewed by host Fiona Phillips (I believe the show was recorded yesterday). Here’s a video of most of the interview & you can watch the full version here.