Kirsten Dunst has made a career out of remarkable performances in Hollywood. The Oscar nominee, famous for her role as Mary Jane in the Spider-Man movies stands to be one of the most versatile actresses the industry has ever seen.
Ever since her debut in the 1989 movie New York Stories, the actress has made her mark in various Oscar-nominated movies. And that is not a small feat, to be very honest.
However, there was one movie she absolutely refused to do that went on to win Academy Awards in five different categories. And, well, with her previous experience, it is horrifyingly clear why that was the right decision for her at the time.
Kirsten Dunst refused to star in American Beauty
The movie in question is obviously the 1999 Kevin Spacey cult classic American Beauty. And while critics and audiences still only have good things to say about the romantic drama, if Kirsten Dunst actually starred in that, even with its amazing reviews, it would have been a terrible experience for her.
Basically, the movie was based on Kevin Spacey’s character Lester Burnham’s growing fascination with his teenage daughter’s friend Angela Hayes.
While the premise around that very sensitive topic in the movie was Burnham slowly slipping into depression even with his happy family life, the movie required the object of his fascination going through some extremities even if in his imagination.
Now, the problem is even if he imagined things, the actor of Angela Hayes would actually have to perform those things. And this is exactly what made Dunst uncomfortable, especially with her being only 15 at the time and Kevin Spacey, who was portraying Lester Burnham, 38. She noted in an interview later,
“When I read it, I was 15 and I don’t think I was mature enough to understand the script’s material. I didn’t want to be kissing Kevin Spacey. Come on! Lying there naked with rose petals?”
Thankfully for her, she got out and the role went to Mena Suvari who was 19 at the time of filming. It was the right decision for her at the time as she was still reeling from her experience of having to kiss Brad Pitt on camera for another Oscar-nominated movie when she was just 11.
Kirsten Dunst hated kissing Brad Pitt when she was 11
The experience for Kirsten Dunst, though, would have been especially harrowing as she already had to kiss Brad Pitt for another cult classic Interview With The Vampire just two years before. In the movie, she played Claudia, the ten-year-old girl whom Brad Pitt’s Louis and Tom Cruise‘s Lestat turned into a vampire.
Although she had immense fun portraying her character, there was one part that she absolutely loathed at the time. Basically, there was a scene where she had to kiss Brad Pitt, and like any other 10 year old she rightfully loathed that. Kirsten Dunst revealed in an interview later,
“Kissing Brad was so uncomfortable for me. I remember saying in interviews that I thought it was gross, that Brad had cooties. I mean, I was 10.”
And this was exactly what led her to refuse American Beauty two years later. Interestingly, she was not the first artist who turned down such an outrageously s**ual role in their teenage years.
Black Swan star Natalie Portman was offered the role of Dolores Haze, aka, Lolita in the 1997 movie of the same name. Portman, too, spoke about her decision in a later interview saying,
“I wasn’t willing to do that [Lolita]. It wasn’t the right thing for me to do at the time. I wasn’t willing to put myself in a s-xual role when I was 13 or 14, and I still wouldn’t do it now. It’s not necessary to do more of that.”
And rightfully so, as prioritizing themselves over whatever fame seeing themselves getting overtly s**ualized by the general at the tender age of 14 or 15 is not worth it. Especially for movies depicting predation and grooming in an industry filled with predators ready to pounce.
And turns out that refusing American Beauty had no effect on Dunst’s career as she grew up to create one of the most iconic kisses in cinema history in Spider-Man, and even got an Oscar nomination to her name for her performance in The Power of the Dog.
Source: Orlando Sentinel