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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Who is Kirsten Caroline Dunst?

Who is Kirsten Caroline Dunst? The acting world knows her as Kirsten Dunst. Dunst is an American actress, model, and singer. She made her film debut in Oedipus Wrecks, a short film directed by Woody Allen for the anthology New York Stories (1989). At the age of 12, Dunst gained widespread recognition playing the role of vampire Claudia in Interview with the Vampire (1994). She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for this performance. That same year she appeared in Little Women, to further acclaim.

Dunst achieved international fame as a result of her portrayal of Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man trilogy. Since then her films have included the romantic comedy Wimbledon (2004), the science fiction drama Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and Cameron Crowe's tragicomedy Elizabethtown (2005). She played the title role in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (2006), and she starred in the comedy How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008).

In 2001, Dunst made her singing debut in the film Get Over It, in which she performed two songs. She also sang the jazz song "After You've Gone" for the end credits of the film The Cat's Meow (2001). In early 2008 Dunst confirmed she was suffering from depression, checking into a treatment center before discharging herself in March and resuming her career.


Dunst was born April 30, 1982 in Point Pleasant, New Jersey to Klaus and Inez Dunst. She has a younger brother, Christian (born 1987).[1] Her father worked as a medical services executive, and her mother was an artist and one-time gallery owner.[2] Dunst is of German descent on her father's side, and Swedish on her mother's.[3]

Until the age of six Dunst lived in New Jersey, where she attended Ranney School before moving with her mother and younger brother to Los Angeles, California in 1991. In 1995, her mother filed for divorce.[2] The following year Dunst began attending Notre Dame, a private Catholic high school in Los Angeles. After graduating from Notre Dame she continued the acting career that she had begun at the age of eight.[1] As a teenager, Dunst found it difficult to deal with her rising fame, and for a period blamed her mother for pushing her into acting as a child. However, she later expressed that her mother "...always had the best intentions".[4] When asked if she had any regrets about the way she spent 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."[3]

Dunst began her career when she was three years old as a child fashion model in television commercials.[2][5] She was signed with Ford Models and Elite Model Management.[2] At the age of eight she made her film debut in a minor role in Woody Allen's Oedipus Wrecks, a short film that was released as one-third of the anthology New York Stories (1989).[2] Soon after, she landed a small part in The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), as Tom Hanks's daughter.[2] In 1993, Dunst played Hedril in "Dark Page", the seventh episode of the seventh season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.[6]

The breakthrough role in Dunst's career came in Interview with the Vampire, a 1994 film based on Anne Rice's novel, in which she played the child vampire Claudia, a surrogate daughter to Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt's characters in the film.[7] The film received generally unfavorable reviews,[8] but many film critics complimented 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.[9] Todd McCarthy in Variety noted that Dunst was "just right" for the family.[10] The film featured a scene in which Dunst received her first kiss from Brad Pitt, who was 18 years her senior.[11] In an interview with Interview magazine, she revealed, while questioned about her kissing scene with Pitt, that kissing him had made her feel uncomfortable: "I thought it was gross, that Brad had cooties. I mean, I was 10."[12] 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.[1][13][14]



She then appeared in the adaptation of the drama Little Women (1994), Dunst portrayed Amy March, opposite Winona Ryder and Claire Danes.[2] The film received favorable reviews;[15] critic Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that the film was the greatest adaptation of the novel 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."[16]

In 1995, she appeared in the fantasy movie Jumanji, loosely based on Chris Van Allsburg's 1981 book of the same name.[17] The story is about a supernatural and ominous board game which makes animals and other jungle hazards appear upon each roll of the dice.[17] She was part of an ensemble cast that included Robin Williams,
Bonnie Hunt, and David Alan Grier. The movie grossed $100 million worldwide.[18] That same year, and again in 2002, she was named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People.[2] In 1996, Dunst had a recurring role in the third season of NBC's medical drama ER. She portrayed a child prostitute, Charlie Chiemingo, taken under the guidance of Dr. Doug Ross, played by George Clooney.[1] In 1997, she was the voice of Young Anastasia in the animated musical film Anastasia.[19] Also in 1997, Dunst appeared in the political satire Wag the Dog, opposite Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman.[20] The following year she was the voice of the title character, Kiki, a 13-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).[21]

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 co-star Kevin Spacey.[12] 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."[12] That same year, she appeared in the comedy Dick, alongside Michelle Williams. The film is a parody retelling the events of the Watergate scandal which lead to the resignation of U.S. president Richard Nixon.[22]

In Sofia Coppola's independent film The Virgin Suicides (1999), Dunst played the role of troubled adolescent Lux Lisbon.[23] The film was screened as a special presentation at the 43rd San Francisco International Film Festival in 2000.[24] The movie received generally favorable reviews,[25] and San Francisco Chronicle critic Peter Stack noted in his review that Dunst "beautifully balances innocence and wantonness".[26]

In 2000, she played Torrance Shipman, the captain of a cheerleading squad in Bring It On.[27] The film generated mostly critical reviews,[28] with Charles Taylor of Salon.com writing that the film had failed to provide Dunst with as good a role as she had either in Dick or in The Virgin Suicides.[29] However, Jessica Winter of The Village Voice complimented Dunst, stating that her performance was "as sprightly and knowingly daft as her turn in Dick. She provides the only major element of Bring It On that plays as tweaking parody rather than slick, strident, body-slam churlishness."[30] The movie grossed $68 million worldwide.[18]

The following year, Dunst had the lead in the teen comedy Get Over It (2001).[31] She later explained that one of the reason for accepting the role was that it gave her the opportunity to sing.[32] Also in 2001, Dunst depicted the late American actress Marion Davies in The Cat's Meow (2001). The film, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, was described by Derek Elley of Variety as "playful and sporty", saying of Dunst that this was her 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."[33] In the Esquire review, Tom Carson called her performance "terrific".[34] For her work, she won the Best Actress Silver OmbĂș category award at the 2002 Mar del Plata Film Festival.[35]


In the 2002 superhero film Spider-Man, the most successful film of her career to date, Dunst played Mary Jane Watson, the best friend and love interest of the title character, played by Tobey Maguire.[36] 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."[37] 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.[38] Spider-Man was a commercial and critical success.[39] The movie grossed $114 million during its opening weekend in North America and went on to earn $822 million worldwide.[18]

Following the success of Spider-Man, Dunst appeared in the independent drama Levity (2003), where she had a supporting role.[40] In this same year she starred in Mona Lisa Smile (2003), part of an ensemble cast that included Julia Roberts, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Julia Stiles. The film generated mostly negative reviews,[41] with Manohla Dargis of the Los Angeles Times describing it as "smug and reductive".[42] She next appeared in the supporting role of Mary Svevo in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), alongside Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, and Tom Wilkinson.[43] The latter film received very positive reviews,[44] with Entertainment Weekly describing Dunst's subplot as "nifty and clever".[45] The movie grossed $72 million worldwide.[18]


The success of the first Spider-Man film led Dunst to reprise the role in the 2004 sequel, Spider-Man 2.[46] The movie was well received by critics,[47] and it proved to be a big financial success, setting a new opening weekend box office record for North America.[48] With revenue of $783 million worldwide, it became the second highest grossing film in 2004.[18] Also in 2004, she appeared in the romantic comedy Wimbledon, a film in which she portrays a rising tennis player in the Wimbledon Championships opposite Paul Bettany, who plays a fading former tennis star. Reception for the movie was mixed,[49] but many critics enjoyed Dunst's performance;[50][51] 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.[52]

In 2005, she appeared as flight attendant Claire Colburn alongside Orlando Bloom, in Elizabethtown, a movie written and directed by Cameron Crowe. The film premiered at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival. Dunst revealed that working with Crowe was enjoyable, but more demanding than she had expected.[3] The movie garnered mixed reviews,[53] with the Chicago Tribune rating it one out of four stars and describing Dunst's portrayal of a flight attendant as "cloying".[54] It was a box office disappointment.[55]


Dunst's next film role was the title character in the 2006 biographical film Marie Antoinette. Adapted from Antonia Fraser's book Marie Antoinette: The Journey, the film was Dunst's second with director Sofia Coppola.[56][57] The movie was screened at a special presentation at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival,[58] and was reviewed favourably.[59] International revenues were $45 million out of $60 million overall.[60]

In 2007 she again played Mary Jane Watson, in Spider-Man 3.[61] In contrast to the previous two films' positive reviews,[39][47] Spider-Man 3 was met with a mixed reception by critics.[62] Nonetheless, with a total worldwide gross of $891 million, it stands as the most


successful film in the series, and Dunst's highest grossing film to the end of 2008.[18] Having initially signed on for three Spider-Man films, she revealed that she would do a fourth, but only if Raimi and Maguire also returned.[63]

In the 2008 movie How to Lose Friends and Alienate People Dunst appeared alongside Simon Pegg.[64] The movie is an adaptation of the memoir of the same name by former Vanity Fair contributing editor Toby Young.[65] Dunst signed on to the film, later revealing that she had joined the project because Pegg was scheduled to appear in it.[66]





She agreed to appear in All Good Things, scheduled for release in 2009, in a leading role opposite Ryan Gosling, portraying a woman from a run-down neighborhood who goes missing.[67][68] She also signed to appear in Sweet Relief, also to be released in 2009, as peace activist Marla Ruzicka, a US relief worker killed by a suicide bomb in Baghdad.[69][70] She has expressed interest in playing the role of Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry in Michel Gondry's upcoming biographical film about the band.[71][72] Dunst will appear in a fourth Spider-Man film, set for a release in 2011.[73] In addition, she has agreed to star opposite Emile Hirsch in Upside Down.[74]





Dunst made her singing debut in the 2001 film Get Over It, performing two songs written by Marc Shaiman.[75]
She also lent her voice to the end credits of The Cat's Meow, singing Henry Creamer and Turner Layton's
jazz standard "After You've Gone".[63][76] In Spider-Man 3, she sings two songs as part of her role as Mary Jane Watson, one during a Broadway performance, and one as a singing waitress in a jazz club.[63][77] Dunst revealed that she recorded the songs earlier and later lip-synced to it when filming began.[63] She also appeared in the music video for Savage Garden's "I Knew I Loved You",[78] and she sang two tracks, "This Old Machine" and "Summer Day", on Jason Schwartzman's 2007 solo album Nighttiming.[79] In an interview with The Advertiser, Dunst explained that she has no plans to follow the steps of actors such as Russell Crowe or Toni Collette's in releasing an album, saying: "Definitely not. No way. It worked when Barbra Streisand was doing it, but now it's a little cheesy, I think. It works better when singers are in movies."[4]

As of 2009 Dunst remains unmarried, and has not been identified with a long-term partner. She has reportedly been involved in short-term relationships with playwright Jeff Smeenge, actor Jake Gyllenhaal, and musician Johnny Borrell
of Razorlight.[80][81][82]

Dunst supported Democratic candidate John Kerry in the 2004 US presidential election.[83] Four years later, she supported Democrat Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.[5][84] Dunst revealed that she supported Obama "from the beginning" of the presidential campaign.[85] In support of this, she directed and narrated a documentary entitled Why Tuesday, explaining the United States tradition of voting on Tuesdays.[85][86] Dunst explained that Tuesday is "not a holiday, and [the United States is] one of the lowest democratic countries in voter turnout".[85] She felt it important to "influence people in a positive way" to vote on November 4.[86]

Her charity work includes participation with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, in which she helped design and promote a necklace, for which all proceeds from sales went to the Glaser foundation.[87] She also has helped with breast cancer awareness; in September 2008 she participated in the Stand Up to Cancer telethon, to help raise funds to accelerate cancer research.[88][89]

Dunst has confirmed that she was treated for depression in early 2008.[90] She sought treatment at the Cirque Lodge treatment center in Utah.[80][90] Dunst explained that she had been feeling low in the six months prior to her going to rehab.[90] In late March she checked out from the treatment center and began filming All Good Things. In May she went public with this information, she said, to highlight the struggle faced by so many other successful women and to dispel false rumors that had been very painful for her friends and family.[91][92]

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1989 New York Stories Lisa's daughter Uncredited
1990 The Bonfire of the Vanities Campbell McCoy
1991 High Strung Young Girl
1993 Star Trek: The Next Generation Hedril Episode: "Dark Page"
1994 Greedy Jolene
Interview with the Vampire Claudia BSFC Award for Best Supporting Actress
CFCS Award for Most Promising Actress
MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Nominated – Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actress
Little Women Younger Amy March BSFC Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actress
1995 Jumanji Judy Shepherd Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor
1996 Mother Night Young Resi Noth
ER Charlie Chiemingo Episode: "Ghosts"
Episode: "Union Station"
Episode: "Homeless for the Holidays"
Episode: "Night Shift"
Episode: "Post Mortem"
Episode: "One More for the Road"
1997 The Outer Limits Joyce Taylor Episode: "Music of the Spheres"
Tower of Terror Anna Petterson
Anastasia Young Anastasia Voice
Gun Sondra Episode: "The Hole"
Wag the Dog Tracy Limes
1998 Fifteen and Pregnant Tina Spangler Television movie
Kiki's Delivery Service Kiki Voice in English language dubbed version
Small Soldiers Christy Fimple
The Hairy Bird Verena von Stefan
1999 The Devil's Arithmetic Hannah Stern Television movie
The Virgin Suicides Lux Lisbon Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Film - Choice Actress
Drop Dead Gorgeous Amber Atkins
Dick Betsy Jobs
2000 The Crow: Salvation Erin Randall
Luckytown Lidda Doyles
Bring It On Torrance Shipman
Deeply Silly
2001 Get Over It Kelly Woods/Helena Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Film — Choice Chemistry
Crazy/Beautiful Nicole Oakley
The Cat's Meow Marion Davies Mar del Plata Film Festival for Best Actress
2002 Spider-Man Mary Jane Watson Empire Movie Award for Best Actress
MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance
MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss
Teen Choice Award for Film - Choice Lip Lock
Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Film — Choice Chemistry
Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Film — Choice Actress, Drama/Action Adventure
2003 Levity Sofia Mellinger
Kaena: The Prophecy Kaena Voice
Mona Lisa Smile Betty Warren Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Sleazebag
2004 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Mary Svevo
Spider-Man 2 Mary Jane Watson Empire Movie Award for Best Actress
Nominated – People's Choice Award for Favorite On-Screen Chemistry
Wimbledon Lizzie Bradbury
2005 Elizabethtown Claire Colburn
2006 Marie Antoinette Marie Antoinette
2007 Spider-Man 3 Mary Jane Watson Nominated – People's Choice Award for Favorite On Screen Match-up
Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie: Liplock
Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress: Action Adventure
Nominated – National Movie Award for Best Performance by a Female
2008 How to Lose Friends and Alienate People Alison Olsen
2009 All Good Things Katie McCarthy post-production
A Jealous Ghost
announced[93]
Sweet Relief Marla Ruzicka announced[94]
2010 Upside Down Eve pre-production[74]
2011 Spider-Man 4 Mary Jane Watson announced[95]
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