Kirsten Dunst dot Org » News

John / November 16th, 2021

Kirsten is a guest on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ tonight (Tuesday ABC 11.35pm Eastern Time) & on ‘The Late Late Show with James Corden’ tomorrow night (CBS 12.37am Eastern Time).

John / September 12th, 2021

Congratulations to Jane Campion for winning the Silver Lion (the best director award) at this years Venice Film Festival.

John / September 12th, 2021

The New York Times has posted a very interesting interview with Kirsten that you can read here. Kirsten confirms in the interview her second child is a boy & that he is called James Robert. Kirsten also (indirectly) explains why Jesse wasn’t able to attend the Venice or Telluride Film Festivals & says why both of them & their children will shortly be relocating to Texas for a few months.

John / August 24th, 2021

Deep into a mid-September day in Horse Prairie, Montana, Jane Campion still hadn’t seen the dog. She’d been looking for hours while touring the ranch featured in the novel she was about to adapt, The Power of the Dog, & kept her search quiet. Why so secretive? The book, written by Thomas Savage, describes a rock outcropping on a nearby hillside that only a privileged few—including wily protagonist Phil Burbank—can identify as a running dog. Campion didn’t want to admit that she couldn’t find it. But as her guide, the Savage scholar Alan Weltzian, began driving them away at day’s end, she turned from her seat & stared into the distance, convinced she’d spotted it. She asked Weltzian to stop, exited the car, and made out a landform with “two little paws” in front. This was it.

“It really felt like a kiss from Thomas Savage to me, to say, ‘Okay, this is yours,’” Campion says now. “‘You’ve seen the dog too.’”

The auspicious discovery also rather perfectly encapsulates Campion’s methods as a filmmaker—the way she so completely surrenders her “whole self” to every story she sets out to tell. “That’s the way it works when you really love your work,” she says over Zoom, calling in from her New Zealand home. “You give it everything.”

And it’s been a while since Campion has done that, at least for the big screen. The Oscar winner’s last feature was the 2009 romantic drama Bright Star; she took a long break from the feature world after that release, expressing disillusionment with an industry shift toward “mainstream” entertainment. “Film is complicated now,” she tells me. “In a way, it’s not as daring as series-making.” (Her Emmy-winning TV show, Top of the Lake, marked her sole 2010s directing credit.)

Here was one of the greatest & most significant directors of her generation, indefinitely out of the moviemaking business. Would she ever return? Did she want to? Yes, thank God. She was just waiting for the right thing.

The Power of the Dog tells a sexually charged, ultimately tragic story of longing & betrayal. Set in ’20s Montana & centered on Phil, a brilliant, über-masculine rancher with a cruel streak, the narrative kicks into gear when Phil’s brother marries a widow & brings her—and, eventually, her “sissy” teenaged son, Peter—to live with them. The novel received a renaissance of sorts when Little, Brown reprinted it in 2001 with a glowing afterword by Brokeback Mountain author Annie Proulx. Campion picked up that edition several years ago & saw its cinematic potential instantly. “The book stayed with me a long time & it didn’t let me go,” she says.

With her producer and friend Tanya Seghatchian, Campion went to Montana in 2018 & met with Weltzian. They spent days discussing Savage, his life, & the novel’s complex, twisty impact. “She saw much better than myself that this is a movie whose time has certainly come,” Weltzian tells me. “It was begging to be done.” Campion came away from the experience energized, newly connected to the material—she wandered the massive log cabin that inspired Phil’s home in the book; she rode horses & researched ranching—& with her particular love of Westerns invigorated.

There was just one thing: The Power of the Dog would be made many, many thousands of miles away from Montana. For her first movie in over a decade, Campion was coming home.

When New Zealand was first floated as the production base for The Power of the Dog, Campion felt terrified: “I was thinking, Oh, my God. I’m not American…& now you want me to do it at home, for freaking hell’s sake?’” But the “magic” landscapes detailed in Savage’s novel didn’t quite match what the director found in Montana. “The dream is to go to the ranch, it’s perfect, you shoot there,” she says. “But that dream didn’t happen.”

She scouted a stunning rural area in New Zealand’s South Island, vast with bright blue skies and surrounding mountains, & led her A-list cast & crew to this remote, beautiful location. By this point, star Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Phil, was ready to go. “This was certainly a different texture of character than I’ve played before,” he says. “But Jane gave me a long runway to really get Phil, to let him in, to understand him, be with him, think like him, move like him, talk like him.” Campion had met the Oscar-nominated actor back in the U.S.—she warmly remembers “turning up at his door with a little backpack on”—and was intrigued by the possibility of him playing such a mysterious, complicated role. “I loved how emotional he can be as an actor & what a lover he is,” Campion says. “That’s something that a lot of men aren’t so good at.”

Cumberbatch had gone to Montana himself several times before shooting, learning everything from roping to braiding to horsework—all new skills to him. (“I managed to fashion Jane a horseshoe, which was I guess a lucky emblem for her before the shoot started.”) Upon arrival in New Zealand, Campion introduced Cumberbatch to the crew as Phil, allowing him to go method—& the shoot, which started in January 2020, lasted about seven months due to a COVID-induced hiatus. “To be in character for an entire shoot is new to me; this level of work, & the long run of this project, is also new to me. But it’s very much what I’ve been hoping for for a long while now,” Cumberbatch says. “It felt so important to be able to walk from the outside in, & bring that sense of everything that Phil keeps on his body—the stink of his work.”

You see that commitment, that total immersion, in Cumberbatch’s performance, which ranges from sexy to menacing to quietly heartbreaking. One scene, in which Phil’s simmering rage boils over, took the actor to an unexpectedly raw place; it’s “what this kind of work brings out of you,” he says. He found great solace & peace in the land: watching sunrises & sunsets, trailing the birds circling. “It’s so awe-inspiring,” he says. He wanted to embody that spirit on and off camera, as well as the story’s ambiguity. As the drama increasingly hinges on the tense dynamic between Phil & Peter (who’s played with startling, mesmerizing assurance by Kodi Smit-McPhee), the film’s dramatic thrust leaves ample room for interpretation & exploration. Much stays unknown until the final minutes.

Cumberbatch calls Campion a “kindred spirit,” down to the impassioned disagreements that’d regularly play out between them on set (again, with Campion addressing him as “Phil”). “??We bicker the whole time, but it’s a trust thing,” Campion says, smiling. “He can say whatever he wants, & I’ll say whatever I want back.”

“She’s remarkable,” Cumberbatch says of his director. “She’s got such a vision. She’s so specific in her art—& her art runs deep.”

That close bonding stayed rooted in a character they jointly brought to life—& who, for both of them, marked very new territory. “I was standing on the outside a little bit—I looked like an anthropologist with my little science coat on,” Campion says with a chuckle. “I got close to Phil in a way that made me very, very confident that I could feel him & love him. I loved his dirtiness. I loved who he really was.”

Let’s pause to clarify an important detail: Until The Power of the Dog, Campion had never made a movie with a male lead.

This chewy study of human behavior & masculinity feels, in many ways, utterly Campion-esque, a thrilling return to form. The homoerotic tension rushing through the narrative too feels part of the director’s enduring, groundbreaking approaches to sexuality on screen. Further, “I think that the differences between men & women are a little bit exaggerated sometimes, certainly when it comes to love & sexuality,” Campion argues.

But still: It’s taken her nearly 40 years to make a movie centered on a man, and this was by design. “Right from the beginning of my career, it’s been women’s stories because women have been completely flipping ignored,” she says. “It was kind of a mission, and it would have felt like a huge betrayal. Even though I see myself as an artist who can go anywhere, I still felt this natural, but also political, necessity to cleave toward women.”

Campion was the first woman to win the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious Palme d’Or, & the second ever nominated for the best-director Oscar (both for 1993’s The Piano, which also won her best original screenplay). Not a ton more progress was made in the decades following. At the 2019 Governors Awards, she was tapped to present for one of the honorees, Lina Wertmüller, the first-ever female best-director Oscar nominee. “I have been asked to speak on the history of women in the directing category in the Academy,” she’d said to begin, sporting a magnificent smirk. “It’s a very short history; more of a haiku.” Cue uncomfortable audience laughter.

Campion believes things are finally changing. The Power of the Dog will world-premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where last year, Nomadland’s Chloé Zhao became the fifth woman to win the Golden Lion prize; this year’s Oscars featured two women nominated in directing for the first time. “I’ve never seen such a big thing in my lifetime,” she says of the post-#MeToo climate in Hollywood & beyond. “I see it as permanent & I’m going to act into that. With that I feel like…I can imagine into a male space now.”

The experience of doing that with The Power of the Dog was freeing. “Bringing your feminine knowing into those spaces is actually exciting,” Campion says. She references the work from Kirsten Dunst as Rose, Phil’s sister-in-law (& the main target of his unyielding nastiness), & the way that felt so essential to her vision: “Her natural warmth as a woman, her loveliness, her beauty…Phil saw her coming into his world with such strong feminine energy.” (Dunst stars with her real-life partner, Jesse Plemons, who plays Rose’s husband & Phil’s decidedly less-macho brother, George.)

Campion thinks of Savage, who died in 2003, when considering her unique perspective on his somewhat autobiographical tale. “I did ask that question: ‘Here I am, a woman, telling this story. How would he feel about it?’” But once she witnessed that dog-shaped spiritual blessing from the author in Montana, she recognized their perspectives as aligned, if hardly identical. “When you adapt a book…you want that to not just be adoration, but to use the view of what he built, & to stand on that—to look beyond,” she says. “You’re making something new with it, as well as the thing itself.”

It’s the power of imagination—of “discovering something bigger than you could know.” What Campion discovers in The Power of the Dog is different from what Savage found, from what she’d found in her previous work, perhaps even from what she expected to find here. “It’s an amazing story,” she says. Just wait to see how she tells it.

David Canfield, Vanity Fair

John / August 19th, 2021

The 65th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express is delighted to announce that this year’s American Express Headline Gala will be The Power of the Dog, directed by Oscar & Palme d’Or winning filmmaker Jane Campion. The film will receive its UK premiere on Monday 11 October at LFF gala venue the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, with Campion expected to attend along with key cast.

Adapted for the screen by Campion & based on the 1967 novel by Thomas Savage, the film features a fantastic international cast with Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch & Jesse Plemons playing the Burbank brothers, alongside Kirsten Dunst & Kodi Smit-McPhee. A See-Saw Films, Bad Girl Creek & Max Films production in association with Brightstar, The New Zealand Film Commission, Cross City Films & BBC Film, the film is produced by Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning & Roger Frappier. The film was developed with BBC Film, and will debut on Netflix later in the year following a theatrical release in UK cinemas.

The Power of the Dog is the story of Phil Burbank, played by Cumberbatch, a charismatic rancher who inspires fear & awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife & her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.

John / July 30th, 2021

A Special Presentation of ‘The Power of the Dog’ will be held at this years 46th Toronto International Film Festival. The festival runs from Thursday September 9th to Saturday September 18th.

John / July 27th, 2021

Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog will screen as the centerpiece selection at this fall’s 59th New York Film Festival.

As the festival resumes in-person events after a 2020 edition blending online & drive-in screenings due to Covid-19, Campion’s film will debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall on October 1. The New York slot will follow the film’s world premiere in Venice, which was confirmed Monday.

Adapted from a 1967 cult novel by Thomas Savage, The Power of the Dog stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Jesse Plemons. Set on a Montana cattle ranch in the 1920s, the Netflix release features a score by Jonny Greenwood.

I am very honored that The Power of the Dog has been selected as the Centerpiece Gala at this year’s New York Film Festival,” said director Jane Campion. “Public screenings we long took for granted feel exceptional now, so it is going to be a very emotional & joyous experience for me & my team to be there & present the film to such a film-celebrating audience.”

Four of Campion’s previous films—Sweetie, An Angel at My Table, The Piano & Holy Smoke—have been official selections of NYFF. In 2017, Film at Lincoln Center, which presents the fest, mounted a retrospective of Jane Campion’s film & television work.

“We couldn’t be happier to welcome Jane Campion back to the festival with one of her very best films,” said Dennis Lim, the festival’s director of programming. “Everything about The Power of the Dog is alive with surprise: its narrative turns, its rich characterizations, its complex ideas about masculinity & repression. It will introduce many to the work of the underappreciated novelist Thomas Savage, but it also reminds us of what cinema can do as a medium for accessing & expressing inner life.”

Kicking off with Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth on September 24, the New York Festival will run through October 10.

Dade Hayes, Deadline

John / June 10th, 2021

Jane Campion, a Cannes legend who remains the only female director to have won the Palme d’Or with ‘The Piano,’ will have her latest drama ‘The Power of the Dog’ world premiere in competition at the Venice Film Festival.

A Netflix Original, ‘The Power of the Dog’ stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst & Jesse Plemons. The movie’s screenplay was penned by Campion, based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Thomas Savage.

Set in the 1920s, the film is about a pair of wealthy Montana brothers, Phil (Cumberbatch) & George Burbank. Phil is brilliant & cruel, while George is fastidious & gentle. Together, they are joint owners of the biggest ranch in their Montana valley. When George (Plemons) secretly marries local widow Rose (Dunst), an angry Phil wages a relentless war to destroy her by using her son Peter as a pawn. The film is produced by BBC Films, Campion’s Bright Star banner & See-Saw Films.

The Venice Film Festival declined to comment.

Campion is no stranger to Venice, where she premiered ‘An Angel at My Table,’ which won the fest’s Grand Jury Prize in 1990, three years before her ‘Piano’ Palm.

Variety understands that ‘The Power of the Dog’ had been invited to world premiere out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival but Netflix opted instead to have it unspool at Venice, where the film can compete. As per a rule set by its administration board, the Cannes Film Festival can’t invite films in competition if they don’t have a local theatrical release planned.

Ultimately, Netflix wasn’t willing to have the movie open theatrically in France in order to get a competition slot at Cannes, & an out of competition slot wasn’t deemed a good enough option, either — even if Cannes chief Thierry Fremaux had vowed to welcome Netflix back to the festival with a glamorous gala premiere.

From Venice, Netflix will also bow Paolo Sorrentino’s personal drama ‘The Hand of God,’ another prestige original that marks ‘The Great Beauty’ director’s return to making a film set, & shot, in his native Naples, 20 years after his feature debut ‘One Man Up’ in 2001.

The Lido in recent years has developed a close rapport with the U.S. streaming giant, having launched, among other titles, Alfonso Cuaron’s semi-autobiographical ‘Roma,’ which won the Golden Lion in 2018 & went on to win 3 Oscars, & Noah Baumbach’s ‘Marriage Story’ in 2019, which scooped one Academy Award that year.

While Venice is ideally positioned at the start of the awards season (‘Nomadland’ premiered in Venice last year & went on to win the best picture Oscar), Cannes is still revered as the world’s biggest film festival & has served as a prestige launchpad for many Oscar-winning films over the years, including Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Parasite,’ which received the Palme d’Or in 2019 & made history by becoming the first foreign language film to win a best picture Oscar.

As previously revealed by Variety, Venice will also host the highly anticipated world premiere of Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ reboot from Warner Bros.

The 78th edition of Venice is scheduled to run Sept. 1-11 as a full-fledged physical event. Bong Joon-ho will preside over the main jury.

Elsa Keslassy & Nick Vivarelli,

admin / March 30th, 2021

Kirsten is pregnant with her second child. She confirmed the pregnancy with a photoshoot (directed by Sofia Coppola & photographed by Zoë Ghertner) in the new ‘Directors Issue’ of W magazine. You can read more details & view the photoshoot here.

Everyone at sends their warmest congratulations to Kirsten & Jesse.

John / January 6th, 2021

The Bachelor kicked off its historic 25th season on Monday night, welcoming the franchise’s first Black Bachelor in Matt James, & celebrated with a virtual watch party hosted by Chris Harrison & Wells Adams.

James & former leads Ben Higgins, Nick Viall & Tayshia Adams (with new fiancé Zac Clark) made appearances during the hour-long pre-game, which also welcomed celebrity Bachelor fans Kirsten Dunst, Dakota Fanning, Sarah Hyland, Wilmer Valderrama, Yara Shahidi, Ali Landry, Jamie Chung, Hannah Simone, Jenna Ushkowitz, Lauren Lapkus & Kate Micucci. The famous guests took part in a live chat running alongside the video stream, while Hyland (who is engaged to Wells Adams) also made a quick on-screen appearance.

Ahead of the virtual event, attendees were sent gift baskets from ABC that included dinner from Prime Pizza, ingredients to make a “Matt-arita,” a box of “Fantasy Sweets” & a 2021 calendar of shots of James. With dance tunes spun by DJ Cassidy, Wells Adams, the show’s Bachelor in Paradise bartender, showed guests how to make the ideal margarita as he & Harrison hosted live from an outdoor space in Los Angeles, & also revealed he will make an appearance on James’ season.

Breaking down his thoughts on the upcoming season, Harrison said that James is “the first Bachelor in quite some time that had not been on the show [previously], which was a good thing & a bad thing — good thing in that he didn’t come in speaking the language & he wasn’t so heavily Bachelor scripted, having been through so many interviews with producers & all that. But at the same time, we move at a pretty fast clip on the show, & there were times when Matt would have to stop & say ‘Guys, I don’t know what a rose ceremony is. You need to tell me.’ He knew nothing.”

Despite those initial hurdles, Harrison said production learned to “spoon feed him” & that “this guy needs to learn how to crawl before he can run. But he’s a smart guy, got up to speed quick, & then it was just fun being with a guy who was so real & so serious about the way he was taking it.”

Higgins appeared via video chat to reveal that James had reached out to him & a number of other franchise leads looking for advice ahead of his season, telling him “don’t let your head get too big but also, don’t let it get too small if this goes poorly all of a sudden for a couple weeks,” with fan backlash. The season 20 Bachelor also spilled some secrets from his season, including that he accidentally got a severe haircut the night before the women from his season arrived, but after shooting had already begun, resulting in production spraying fake hair on the sides of his head for night one. Higgins also had a parasite from his time in Honduras for his entire season, making him frequently sick as Harrison recalled canceling cocktail parties because the lead was too ill.

“That’s when you go out & go really seriously like, “Ladies, I know you’re hoping to see Ben, but he really knows what he’s gonna do tonight.’ He’s also on the toilet right now & can’t make it.”

Tayshia Adams & Clarke also appeared to catch up on their new life in New York, & Viall weighed in on the new crop of women from this season. James made a special appearance to round out the night, where he watched his premiere from New York with his mom & roommate (& Bachelorette alum) Tyler Cameron.

Looking back on his night one, he joked he was “shaking like a stripper” & credited the women with carrying him through. “I was fortunate enough to have such a good group & I didn’t think that women like that were single, so having that group of people to be the suitor for it’s just like, I feel like the luckiest dude alive. I’m excited for everyone to meet them,” he said.

After prodding from the hosts about that vibrator moment, James joked of grabbing it in the intro, “I ran the 400 meter relay in high school, it’s like a baton,” & added that he appreciated when women did gimmicks as “it lightened the mood because I was tense, I was nervous. When someone walks out with something like that, it’s like how do you not like crack a smile?”

And when asked about his final result, he admitted, “I’m very happy.”

Kirsten Chuba, The Hollywood Reporter

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