On Her Most Challenging Role Yet

Kirsten Dunst has been celebrating winning the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. She was awarded the honour by a jury led by Robert De Niro for Melancholia – a movie made by the controversial filmmaker Lars von Trier.  However, the twenty-nine-year-old star thought her chances of winning were dimmed after von Trier was made persona non grata by the festival's board after telling a press conference that he was a Nazi.


Away from the controversy, Kirsten gives a terrific, deeply felt performance in the sci-fi drama, as a newlywed bride who instantly regrets her marriage, while the Earth faces an imminent collision with another planet.  It is a huge triumph for Kirsten – who has come a long way since starring in the Spider-Man franchise.


Here Kirsten shifts the focus away from von Trier's outburst and back Melancholia – her most challenging performance to date.


STUDIO: I admired you a lot at the press conference – you're a brave girl!  It must have been a difficult couple of days.

Kirsten Dunst: I know Lars very well and you just can't joke about things like that. I know he was very embarrassed.  You know, he dug himself and he just kept talking.


STUDIO: Apparently, he said it was a performance? 

KD: Listen, I don't know.  You can't joke about things like that, hands down.  That's it.  So he was very stupid.


STUDIO: Justine is a very intense role.  Was it a painful process to play such an intense character?

KD: It wasn't painful.  It was cathartic.  Lars gives you the opportunity to be very vulnerable and he himself was in a good place in the filming process, so he was very helpful.  It was difficult and sometimes painful, but also in a way that didn't hurt me personally, you know what I mean?


STUDIO: Did you have to go very deeply inside your psyche?

KD: Yes, and Lars and I talked so much before the movie – to do with his feelings and what he's been through with depression and how that should manifest in the way I look and how that looks like in someone's eyes.  We talked a lot about that, but I always prepare before I even talk to the director, so I worked so hard on that script before I even talked to him about it.


STUDIO: Could you relate to what he said about depression and how he described it?

KD: I think it's personal for everybody who's been through something like that.  I think everybody feels it in a different way and I'm impressed that Lars can come out of stuff like that and create incredible films.  Out of those things comes great art and literature and I was proud that I could do that, because it's very difficult to have a film about depression.  People that are depressed, it's not a subject that's easy to put cinematically, you know.



Read the rest of STUDIO's exclusive interview with Kirsten Dunst, star of Melancholia, in our September 2011 issue,  Out now!

"I worked so hard on that script before I even talked to him about it."
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