Kirsten Dunst On The Dos & Don’ts Of Getting Older In Show Business

There are some perks of the job Kirsten Dunst enjoys more than others, and hanging out in hotels is one of them.

“I love hotel living I am not going to lie,” she says over the phone from New York where she is doing press for The Two Faces of January, a new film based on a Patricia Highsmith novel that co-stars Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac.

“You don’t need to leave. You can do everything here. There’s a gym downstairs. It’s cosy. I can order in, and to me, there is nothing more luxurious or nice than ordering something and someone bringing it up to you.” She laughs. “I’ve even had times where I have stayed in hotels in Los Angeles just to have a vacation, or a staycation, just for two nights. You know, I can hang by the pool and order a club sandwich. And my job, since most of it is reading, I’m always happy to coop up.”

As someone who’s been acting since she was an infant — she racked up her first credit at the age of one — Dunst could look at performance as an integral part of her being, but the 32-year old says the world looks a lot different, and a lot broader, when you get older.

“I love what I do and I feel I am in a steady place right now. I think I am pretty steady. I’m there. You know? I am not the new person, but I don’t feel like I have done it all, either. I also find a lot of the opportunities that have come my way are the result of the relationships I have made, and am making, which makes everything more of a community to me,” she says.

“That’s a new feeling for me. And I feel the opportunities are exciting, so I guess I feel confident in my career but I don’t feel settled in any way.”

And how could she? Dunst is flying all over the map in terms of material, from parts in Portlandia and Anchorman 2, to Midnight Special, the new film from Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) that also stars Michael Shannon, Adam Driver and Joel Edgerton.

“You have to take chances. But I have to say, since the Spider-Man movies finished, and I just use that as a landmark, I have to say all my choices movie-wise, I’ve had a good experience on every one of them,” she says. “And more and more, it’s not so much about the role but about the people you are working with, and their talent and their commitment to the cause. Like if I don’t feel everyone is working hard to make the very best movie we can, then I’m not going to enjoy it, and if I’m not enjoying the experience, I probably won’t be any good in it.”

Fortunately, Dunst says she’s fallen in with an amazing group of friends, from the likes of Sofia Coppola to her recent turn with Mortensen and Isaac.

“This is the kind of movie where I wasn’t, like, I have to play Collette. I just loved the story and wanted to be part of telling the story. I’d wanted to work with Viggo as well. And there was an intelligent writer, and Working Title were producing, and everything about the movie was classy.”

Dunst says you have to figure out where you want to align yourself creatively, and stick to your guns.

“I made my own choices as a child actor as well, but I have more of an education in film now so my choices are different, but I have always done what I wanted to do. It’s true. Not that I got to do every movie I wanted to do. But I know what I want,” she says.

“Like recently I was asked if I wanted to do a movie in Canada in the winter time in the forest, and it was like, um, no.” Dunst laughs. “I can’t just do a movie to do a movie anymore.”

There has to be some mental meat, some deeper challenge, to make it meaningful.

“Acting can be very cathartic. I get to work out so many of my feelings and a lot of people don’t get to. I think it is very healthy in some ways. It’s almost like doing therapy. You have to access parts of yourself to figure things out, and because I do a lot of preparation by myself, by the time I step on set I feel like a racehorse ready to go.”

But you have to be careful, she says.

“I remember after doing Melancholia everyone wanted me to play all these sad girls and I just wanted to do something funny. So I did Bachelorette. I’d never played a bitch before.”

Katherine Monk, canada.com

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