Interview: 'The Two Faces of January' star Kirsten Dunst wants better female roles

Kirsten Dunst talks about fleshing out her "The Two Faces of January" character from the novel and about paparazzi always selling the same photo of her.

Kirsten Dunst's latest is the '60s thriller "The Two Faces of January." Credit: Getty Images Kirsten Dunst's latest is the '60s thriller "The Two Faces of January."
Credit: Getty Images

 

There are only three main characters in the new thriller “The Two Faces of January,” and Kirsten Dunst plays the only woman. (The others, for the record, are Viggo Mortensen, as a fraudster, and Oscar Isaac, as a conman.) At least it’s better than no women.

 

“I know when I watch movies and it’s only about boys and there’s no interesting female characters, I don’t end up liking it much,” Dunst confesses. In fact, the film, based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1964 novel, could have wound up being one of those. For whatever reason, Highsmith was only drawn to male characters; her females tend to be boring blanks. Her writer-director, Hossein Amini (“Drive”), did his part to flesh her out, and left the rest to Dunst.

 

“I wanted Colette to be as much of a character as I could. It was there on the page, but then it’s also about the guys,” Dunst says. “That was probably the hardest thing for me, to make her as full as possible. She could have easily been a throwaway role.”

 

In the future Dunst would prefer to do more female-heavy films, and even comedies, for which she isn’t always known, despite starring in the likes of “Dick,” “Bring It On” and “Bachelorette.” She says there’s one project she’s debating: a “straight-up girls stoner comedy,” as she describes it.

“I love comedies, and I don’t think there’s enough good female ones,” she says. “I love working with women, and you don’t even get to do that very often. That’s why I did ‘Bachelorette’: I wanted to have fun with girls my age who are also actresses. You hardly ever get to work with other women. It’s such a different thing. You’re not playing the love interest. You don’t have to do that stuff.”

In "The Two Faces of January," Kirsten Dunst plays the wife of a fraudster (Viggo Mortensen) in trouble. Credit: Magnolia Pictures In "The Two Faces of January," Kirsten Dunst plays the wife of a fraudster (Viggo Mortensen) in trouble.
Credit: Magnolia Pictures

She’s at least relishing no longer being stuck doing teen and college student roles. “The last movie I did I had a child,” she points out, presumably referring to the forthcoming “Midnight Special,” by “Take Shelter” and “Mud” director Jeff Nichols. “You can play roles where you do get married, and that happens at my age group.”

Someone perhaps inevitably brings up the recent mass stolen photo leak, of which Dunst was a victim. She says nothing about it beyond chuckling angrily at one of the men behind it, who complained about having photos of him spreading online: “Well, now he has to deal with the FBI.”

But in terms of so-called “mere” paparazzi, Dunst is an old hat when they’re in her vicinity. “I have a sixth sense with that stuff,” she claims. “I can feel it. Something feels wrong.”

Her costar, Mortensen, says they mostly leave him alone, perhaps because he was giving them boring photos (“It’s just me walking the dog, I’ve got a donut in my mouth, I’ve lost his keys, I’m sleeping on the curb,” Mortensen jokes (we think).) With Dunst they definitely haven’t.

“They’re worse to women. I live in the Valley in Los Angeles, which is as low-key as you can get for living in L.A, let’s just put it that way,” she explains. “But there’s this one gym, and a lot of girls go there, a lot of models. That’s the one spot they sit at in the Valley. And every day they just get you coming out, sweaty. But it never gets old. I’m like, ‘How do they keep selling this dumb picture of me in workout gear?’ I don’t look any different. I wear the same thing, pretty much.”

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge

 
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