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Kiss of the Spider Woman Part One

SPIDER-MAN co-star Kirsten Dunst on superheroes, bungee jumping and falling off buildings into Tobey Maguire's arms

By Paul Zimmerman     April 16, 2002


Kirsten Dunst stars as Mary Jane Watson in Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN
© Sony Pictures
In the new SPIDER-MAN movie, you'll believe a man can swing from building to building. And that his girlfriend can fall.

"I was being dropped all the time," says Kirsten Dunst, who plays Peter Parker/Spider-Man's lady love Mary Jane Parker in the hotly anticipated Marvel Comic adaptation. "I fall off a bridge. Off a balcony. I probably had a month straight of just dropping and falling."

Eyes widening, Dunst adds: "From high up. Major drops. Harnessed in and then they'd go, 'One, two, three,' and I'd drop down from really high up and they'd slow down just at the end so you don't hit the pad. I wasn't terrified, but it definitely gives you a rush."

Kirsten Dunst is Marion Davies in THE CAT'S MEOW.



Dunst, who's getting the best reviews of her career for the period murder mystery THE CAT'S MEOW, has always been game for whatever Hollywood could throw at her. At age 11 she played a vampire opposite Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE and by her mid-teens she'd battled toy robots in SMALL SOLDIERS and storybook characters that come to life in JUMANJI. Now nearly 20, having graduated from high school in BRING IT ON and THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, she seems ready for super (adult) stardom.

But she does have her limits. While she was willing to be dangled and dropped for SPIDER-MAN, don't think you'll see her anytime soon bungee jumping or appearing on FEAR FACTOR.

"Hell no," she says with a wide smile. "I'm not the girl to go bungee jumping or jump out of airplanes. I'm not into any of that."

And FEAR FACTOR?

"What a weird show," she shrieks, her face twisting into an incredulous expression. "Like hello. And how much money did they get? I would never let 50 spiders crawl all of my face. I wouldn't care if you wanted to give me a million dollars. No way."

But she did let one spider-masked man kiss and crawl on her face for the film, and afterward rumors sparked that the on-screen couple were an off-screen item.

Tobey Maguire stars in Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN



"That's the rumor," she admits, adding, "We're friends and people always blow things out of proportion."

Then why the rumors? Dunst insists similar rumors have circulated on, "I think pretty much every movie I've done. Actually I think it's worse for Tobey. I think every movie he's done he's been [romantically] related to a cast member." Pausing a moment she adds with a twinkle in her eye, "I think I'm more discreet about everything."

Although obvious descriptions of the actress would include bright, perky, down-to-earth and forthcoming, this particular day you'd have to add tired.

"I'm OK," she says, a tad droopy-eyed, "I'm a little sick, I'm a little overtired from SPIDER-MAN stuff."

Having just returned from Japan and Australia, where the filmmakers showed a 30-minute highlight reel from the film, Dunst says: "The whole trip I didn't even have jet lag. Sometimes I'd feel a little nauseous, but I was OK, and these past two days I've slept for 14 hours. Both yesterday and the day before and I'm so out of it - my throat, I'm like coughing up blood. Bloody phlegm, weird stuff."

Australia she found "amazing. We worked the whole time pretty much, but we went out to nice restaurants and the shopping in Japan is the best ever." Sitting up straight she adds: "I bought this sweater in Japan. The shopping is insane there."

Kirsten Dunst stars as Mary Jane Watson in Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN



While Dunst has traversed freely from indie film to popular crowd-pleasers, SPIDER-MAN marks her first foray into the bona fide blockbuster arena.

"Everybody seems to be really be ready for it," she says, "and it's nice because it's a pretty intimate story and it's character-driven and not just another action movie, which I really like. It's got depth to it."

Advance word and studio confidence is so strong it was announced last week the sequel will go into production next January and that Maguire, Dunst and director Sam Raimi had already signed on. The idea of a sequel, her first, really appeals to Dunst.

"I really love the story of SPIDER-MAN and I knew that this was a character that I could develop and go places," she says, shrugging. "[And with] Sam, it's not like it's just a superhero movie. You feel connected to these characters. You feel like you can relate to them. There are many places we can go with my role and Peter's role and I really feel like it's a challenging acting experience as well as being in a big film. Because it's hard to get both these days - good material in a big film. And SPIDER-MAN is a really great story."

Getting worked up, Dunst adds, "I wouldn't care if I was signed up for..." She stops herself with a laugh and says, "Well, maybe three's enough."

Be sure to check back tomorrow, true believer, for the conclusion of our Kirsten Dunst profile!

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