Dunst at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
Kirsten Caroline Dunst (//; born April 30, 1982) is an American actress. She made her debut in the 1989 anthology film New York Stories, appearing in the segment Oedipus Wrecks directed by Woody Allen. At the age of twelve, Dunst gained widespread recognition as Claudia in Interview with the Vampire (1994), for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. She appeared in Little Women the same year and in Jumanji the following year. After a recurring role on the third season of ER (1996–1997), and appearances in films such as Wag the Dog (1997), Small Soldiers (1998), the 1998 English dub of Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) and The Virgin Suicides (1999), Dunst starred in a string of comedies, including Drop Dead Gorgeous, Dick (both 1999), Bring It On (2000), Get Over It, and Crazy/Beautiful (both 2001).
Dunst achieved fame for her portrayal of Mary Jane Watson in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy (2002–2007). Since then, she has also played roles in Mona Lisa Smile (2003), Wimbledon, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (both 2004), Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown (2005), the title role in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (2006), How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008), Bachelorette (2012), and The Two Faces of January (2014). In 2011, she won Best Actress at Cannes for her performance in Lars von Trier's Melancholia.
In 2015, Dunst starred as Peggy Blumquist on the second season of the television series Fargo. Her performance garnered critical acclaim, leading to her winning the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress, and being nominated for Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy awards. In 2017, she received a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in the film Hidden Figures, and co-starred in her third collaboration with Sofia Coppola, The Beguiled.
Dunst's father worked for Siemens as a medical services executive, and her mother worked for Lufthansa as a flight attendant. She was also an artist and one-time gallery owner. Dunst's father is German, originally from Hamburg, and her New Jersey-born mother is of German and Swedish descent. Until the age of 11, Dunst lived in Brick Township, New Jersey, where she attended Ranney School. Her parents separated in 1993, and she subsequently moved with her mother and brother to Los Angeles, where she attended Laurel Hall School in North Hollywood and Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks. Among her classmates was Rami Malek, who was a grade above; they were both in a musical theater class. In 1995, her mother filed for divorce.
After graduating from high school in 2000, Dunst continued acting. As a teenager, she found it difficult to deal with her rising fame, and for a period she blamed her mother for pushing her into acting as a child. However, she later said that her mother "always had the best intentions". When asked if she had any regrets about her childhood, Dunst said, "Well, it's not a natural way to grow up, but it's the way I grew up and I wouldn't change it. I have my stuff to work out... I don't think anybody can sit around and say, 'My life is more screwed up than yours.' Everybody has their issues."
In addition to her American citizenship, Dunst obtained German citizenship in 2011, in part because it helps her get roles in film projects with European financing which limits the number of Americans they are allowed to employ.
At the age of six, she made her feature film debut in a minor role in Woody Allen's short film Oedipus Wrecks; it was released as one-third of the anthology film New York Stories (1989). Soon after, Dunst performed in the comedy-drama The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), based on Tom Wolfe's novel of the same name, in which she played the daughter of Tom Hanks's character. In 1993, Dunst made a guest appearance in an episode of the science fiction drama Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Her breakthrough role came in 1994, in the horror drama Interview with the Vampire opposite Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, based on Anne Rice's novel of the same name. She played Claudia, the child vampire who is a surrogate daughter to Cruise and Pitt's characters. The film received mixed reviews, but many critics praised Dunst's performance. Roger Ebert commented that Dunst's creation of the child vampire Claudia was one of the "creepier" aspects of the film, and mentioned her ability to convey the impression of great age inside apparent youth. Todd McCarthy in Variety said that Dunst was "just right" for the family.
The film featured a scene in which Dunst shared her first on-screen kiss with Pitt, who was almost two decades older. In an interview with Interview magazine, she revealed that kissing him had made her feel uncomfortable: "I thought it was gross, that Brad had cooties. I mean, I was 10." Her performance earned her the MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance, the Saturn Award for Best Young Actress, and her first Golden Globe Award nomination.
Later in 1994, Dunst co-starred in the drama film Little Women opposite Winona Ryder and Claire Danes. The film received favorable reviews. Critic Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that the film was the greatest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel of the same name and remarked on Dunst's performance,
"The perfect contrast to take-charge Jo comes from Kirsten Dunst's scene-stealing Amy, whose vanity and twinkling mischief make so much more sense coming from an 11-year-old vixen than they did from grown-up Joan Bennett in 1933. Ms. Dunst, also scarily effective as the baby bloodsucker of Interview With the Vampire, is a little vamp with a big future."
In 1995, Dunst co-starred in the fantasy adventure film Jumanji, loosely based on Chris Van Allsburg's 1981 children's book of the same name. The story is about a supernatural and ominous board game in which animals and other jungle hazards appear with each roll of the dice. She was part of an ensemble cast that included Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt and David Alan Grier. The movie grossed $262 million worldwide. That year, and again in 2002, Dunst was named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People.
From 1996 to 1997, Dunst had a recurring role in season three of the NBC medical drama ER. She played Charlie Chemingo, a child prostitute who was being cared for by the ER pediatrician Dr. Doug Ross (George Clooney). In 1997, she voiced Young Anastasia in the animated musical film Anastasia. Also in 1997, Dunst appeared in the black comedy film Wag the Dog, opposite Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman. The following year she voiced the title character, Kiki, a thirteen-year-old apprentice witch who leaves her home village to spend a year on her own, in the anime movie Kiki's Delivery Service (1998). She also starred in Sarah Kernochan's period comedy All I Wanna Do (1998), playing a student at an all girls' boarding school in the 1960s, opposite Gaby Hoffmann, Rachael Leigh Cook, and Lynn Redgrave.
Dunst was offered the role of Angela in the 1999 drama film American Beauty, but turned it down because she did not want to appear in the film's suggestive sexual scenes or kiss the film's star Kevin Spacey. She later explained: "When I read it, I was 15 and I don't think I was mature enough to understand the script's material." That same year, she co-starred in the comedy film Dick, opposite Michelle Williams. The film is a parody retelling the events of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of U.S. president Richard Nixon.
Dunst co-starred opposite James Woods in Sofia Coppola's drama film The Virgin Suicides (1999), based on Jeffrey Eugenides' novel of the same name. She played Lux Lisbon, one of the troubled teenage daughters of Ronald Lisbon (Woods). The film was screened as a special presentation at the 43rd San Francisco International Film Festival in 2000. The movie received generally favorable reviews. San Francisco Chronicle critic Peter Stack noted in his review that Dunst "beautifully balances innocence and wantonness."
In 2000, Dunst starred in the comedy Bring It On as Torrance Shipman, the captain of a cheerleading squad. The film generated mostly positive reviews, with many critics reserving praise for her performance. In his review, A. O. Scott called her "a terrific comic actress, largely because of her great expressive range, and the nimbleness with which she can shift from anxiety to aggression to genuine hurt." Charles Taylor of Salon noted that "among contemporary teenage actresses, Dunst has become the sunniest imaginable parodist", even though he thought the film had failed to provide her with as good a role as she had either in Dick or in The Virgin Suicides. Jessica Winter from The Village Voice complimented Dunst, stating that her performance was "as sprightly and knowingly daft as her turn in Dick" and commenting that "[Dunst] provides the only major element of Bring It On that plays as tweaking parody rather than slick, strident, body-slam churlishness." Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle, despite giving the film an unfavorable review, commended Dunst for her willingness "to be as silly and cloyingly agreeable as it takes to get through a slapdash film."
The following year, Dunst starred in the comedy film Get Over It (2001). She later explained that she took the role for the chance to sing. Also in 2001, she starred in the historical drama The Cat's Meow, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, as the American actress Marion Davies. Derek Elley of Variety described the film as "playful and sporty", saying that this was Dunst's best performance to date: "Believable as both a spoiled ingenue and a lover to two very different men, Dunst endows a potentially lightweight character with considerable depth and sympathy." For her work, she won the Best Actress Silver Ombú category award at the 2002 Mar del Plata International Film Festival.
In 2002, Dunst co-starred opposite Tobey Maguire in the superhero film Spider-Man, the most financially successful film of her career to date. She played Mary Jane Watson, the best friend and love interest of Peter Parker (Maguire). The film was directed by Sam Raimi. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly remarked on Dunst's ability to "lend even the smallest line a tickle of flirtatious music." In the Los Angeles Times review, critic Kenneth Turan noted that Dunst and Maguire made a real connection on screen, concluding that their relationship "involved audiences to an extent rarely seen in films." Spider-Man was a commercial and critical success. The movie grossed $114 million during its opening weekend in North America and went on to earn $822 million worldwide.
Dunst next co-starred opposite Billy Bob Thornton, Morgan Freeman and Holly Hunter in Ed Solomon's drama Levity (2003). That same year, she co-starred opposite Julia Roberts, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Julia Stiles in the drama Mona Lisa Smile (2003). The film received mostly negative reviews, with Manohla Dargis of the Los Angeles Times describing it as "smug and reductive." She co-starred as Mary Svevo opposite Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet and Tom Wilkinson in Michel Gondry's science fiction romantic comedy-drama Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). The latter film received very positive reviews, with Entertainment Weekly describing Dunst's subplot as "nifty and clever". The movie grossed $72 million worldwide.
The success of the first Spider-Man film led Dunst to reprise her role as Mary Jane Watson in 2004 in Spider-Man 2. The movie was well received by critics and a financial success, setting a new opening weekend box office record for North America. With revenue of $783 million worldwide, it was the second highest-grossing film in 2004. Also in 2004, Dunst co-starred opposite Paul Bettany in the romantic comedy Wimbledon where she portrayed a rising tennis player in the Wimbledon Championships, while Bettany portrayed a fading former tennis star. The film received mixed reviews, but many critics enjoyed Dunst's performance. Claudia Puig of USA Today reported that the chemistry between Dunst and Bettany was potent, with Dunst doing a fine job as a sassy and self-assured player.
In 2005, she co-starred opposite Orlando Bloom in Cameron Crowe's romantic tragicomedy Elizabethtown as Claire Colburn, a flight attendant. The film premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival. Dunst revealed that working with Crowe was enjoyable, but more demanding than she had expected. The movie garnered mixed reviews, with the Chicago Tribune rating it one out of four stars and describing Dunst's portrayal of a flight attendant as "cloying." It was a box office disappointment.
In 2006, Dunst collaborated with Sofia Coppola again and starred as the title character in Coppola's historical drama Marie Antoinette, based on Antonia Fraser's book Marie Antoinette: The Journey. The movie was screened at a special presentation at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, and was reviewed favourably. International revenues were $45 million out of $60 million overall.
In 2007, Dunst reprised her role as Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man 3. In contrast to the previous two films' positive reviews, Spider-Man 3 received mixed reviews from critics. Nonetheless, with a total worldwide gross of $891 million, it stands as the most commercially successful film in the series and Dunst's highest-grossing film to the end of 2008. Having initially signed on for three Spider-Man films, she said that she would do a fourth, but only if Raimi and Maguire also returned. In January 2010, it was announced that the fourth film was cancelled and that the Spider-Man film series would be restarted, and therefore dropping Dunst, Maguire and Raimi from the franchise.
Dunst made her screenwriting and directorial debut with the short film Bastard, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2010 and was later featured at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. She co-starred opposite Ryan Gosling in the mystery drama All Good Things (2010), based on a true story as the wife of Gosling's character from a run-down neighborhood who goes missing. The film received reasonable reviews, and earned $640,000 worldwide. Dunst co-starred with Brian Geraghty in Carlos Cuarón's short film The Second Bakery Attack, based on Haruki Murakami's short story.
In 2011, Dunst co-starred opposite Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland and Charlotte Rampling in Lars von Trier's drama film Melancholia as a woman suffering depression as the world ends. The film premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and received positive reviews and Dunst was singled out for praise. Steven Loeb of Southampton Patch wrote, "This film has brought the best out of von Trier, as well as his star. Dunst is so good in this film, playing a character unlike any other she has ever attempted... Even if the film itself were not the incredible work of art that it is, Dunst's performance alone would be incentive enough to recommend it."
Sukhdev Sandhu wrote from Cannes in The Daily Telegraph that "Dunst is exceptional, so utterly convincing in the lead role – trouble, serene, a fierce savant – that it feels like a career breakthrough. Dunst won several awards for her performance, including the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival and the Best Actress Award from the U.S. National Society of Film Critics
In 2012, Dunst co-starred in Juan Diego Solanas' science fiction romantic drama Upside Down opposite Jim Sturgess. She co-starred opposite Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson and Lizzy Caplan in Leslye Headland's romantic comedy Bachelorette, produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. In 2012, she co-starred opposite Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Garrett Hedlund in the adventure drama On the Road as Camille Moriarty, based on Jack Kerouac's novel of the same name. She made a cameo appearance in the short film Fight For Your Right Revisited. It premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
In 2015, Dunst co-starred as Peggy Blumquist in the second season of the critically acclaimed FX crime comedy-drama Fargo, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. In 2016, Dunst co-starred in Jeff Nichols' science fiction drama Midnight Special with Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton. In May 2016, she was a member of the main competition jury of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2017, Dunst starred with Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, and Elle Fanning in the drama The Beguiled, her third collaboration with Sofia Coppola, who directed, wrote, and produced. The film is a remake of Don Siegel's original 1971 film about a wounded Union soldier who seeks shelter at an all-girls' school deep in Confederate country. That same year, Dunst starred in the Rodarte label founders' feature directorial debut Woodshock about a woman who falls deeper into paranoia after taking a deadly drug.
In October 2015, Dunst said that she was co-writing and set to direct a film adaptation of a novel. In July 2016, it was announced that Dunst would be making her feature film directorial debut with an adaptation of Sylvia Plath's novel The Bell Jar, with Dakota Fanning in the lead role. In August 2019, Dunst stated she was no longer involved with the project. In September, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
She recorded Henry Creamer and Turner Layton's jazz standard "After You've Gone" that was used in the end credits of The Cat's Meow. In Spider-Man 3, she sang two songs as Mary Jane Watson, one during a Broadway performance, and one as a singing waitress in a jazz club. Dunst recorded the songs earlier and lip-synced while filming. She appeared in the music videos for Savage Garden's "I Knew I Loved You", Beastie Boys' "Make Some Noise" and R.E.M.'s "We All Go Back to Where We Belong" and she sang two tracks which were "This Old Machine" and "Summer Day" on Jason Schwartzman's 2007 solo album Nighttiming.
Dunst starred as the magical princess Majokko in the Takashi Murakami and McG directed short Akihabara Majokko Princess singing a cover of The Vapors' 1980 song "Turning Japanese". This was shown at the "Pop Life" exhibition in London's Tate Modern museum from October 1, 2009, to January 17, 2010. It shows Dunst prancing around Akihabara, a crowded shopping district in Tokyo, Japan.
Dunst dated actor Jake Gyllenhaal from 2002 to 2004, Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell in 2007, and her On the Road co-star Garrett Hedlund from 2012 to 2016. She began dating her Fargo co-star Jesse Plemons in 2016. They became engaged in 2018. Their son, Ennis Howard Plemons, was born in Santa Monica, California on May 3, 2018.
Dunst was treated for depression in early 2008 at the Cirque Lodge treatment center in Utah. She explained that she had been feeling low in the six months before her admission. In late March 2008, she checked out of the treatment center and began filming the mystery drama All Good Things. In May 2008, she went public with this information in order to dispel rumors of drug and alcohol abuse, stating, "Now that I'm feeling stronger, I was prepared to say something. [...] Depression is pretty serious and should not be gossiped about."
Dunst supported John Kerry for the 2004 U.S. presidential election. She supported Barack Obama for the 2008 presidential election, directing and narrating a documentary, Why Tuesday, about the tradition of voting on Tuesdays and the low voter turnout in the U.S., as she felt it important to "influence people in a positive way".
Dunst works with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, for which she helped design and promote a necklace whose sales proceeds went to the Foundation. She worked in breast cancer awareness, participating in the Stand Up to Cancer telethon in September 2008 to raise funds for cancer research. On December 5, 2009, she participated in the Teletón in Mexico, to raise funds for cancer treatment and children's rehabilitation.
In 2001, Dunst bought a home in Toluca Lake, California. In 2010, she sold a residence in Nichols Canyon, California. She also lived in a Lower Manhattan apartment which she listed for sale in 2017. In September 2019, Dunst sold her Toluca Lake home for $4.55 million just "nine days after she sent it to market for $4.7 million".