Kirsten Dunst and Sofia Coppola met years ago, while working on 1999’s The Virgin Suicides, and the two women forged an instant friendship. In a new interview that brought Sofia and Kirsten together, Ms. Coppola recalled that Dunst brought her mother to the audition with her, but, before long, The Virgin Suicides director had set both mother and daughter at ease. In the past 17 years, Kirsten and Sofia have forged a friendship and a long-lasting relationship so rarely found among Hollywood celebrities. As the pair again reunites to promote their new project, The Beguiled, Dunst and Coppola blow the lid of on the dark, sexist side of Hollywood.
Kirsten Dunst and Sofia Coppola on Body Shaming and Teeth
During the interview with Variety, Sofia and Kirsten reminisced about the early days of their friendship, when they were just beginning to get acquainted as actress and director. Dunst recalled one moment in particular, because it was something that influenced her future as an actress with the kinds of flaws that male Hollywood producers frown upon.
“She said to me, ‘I love your teeth; don’t ever fix your teeth.'”
A couple of years later, Kirsten found herself working on 2002’s Spider-Man and recalls that one of the film’s producers insisted that she immediately see a dentist to have her teeth repaired. Dunst adds that the promo posters for the film had already been adjusted to show the image that producer had for her teeth.
The Spider-Man actress held out, recalling what Ms. Coppola had said to her years earlier.
“But I just knew I was never doing that. Sofia is the chicest, coolest girl, and she thinks my teeth are great,” says the Beguiled actress. “She gave me confidence in little things that I wouldn’t necessarily have had.”
There’s no denying that Sofia has a unique eye and that talent for seeing the beauty of individuality has served her well through the years. Even so, there are times that the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola does embrace the standard practices of her male counterparts. One such occasion came when she began working on The Beguiled with Dunst and requested that Kirsten lose weight for her new role.
“It’s so much harder when you’re 35 and hate working out,” Dunst says.
The Beguiled actress explained to Coppola that filming in the south wasn’t helping matters with so many fast food options for her meals.
“I’m eating fried chicken and McDonald’s before work. So I’m like, ‘We have no options! I’m sorry I can’t lose weight for this role.'”
Kirsten Dunst Says Ageism is More of a Problem Today Than in the Past
As an actress and an aspiring director, Kirsten Dunst keeps a keen eye on Hollywood trends, and Jezebel reports that one of her greatest concerns is the growing problem of ageism in film. The Beguiled star was a fan of Ryan Murphy’s first season of Feud and watched the Joan Crawford/Bette Davis rivalry with an actor’s perspective, noting that the women of classic Hollywood did have one advantage over today’s actresses.
“I was getting depressed watching Feud,” Dunst says, explaining that the series forced her to recognize her own status as an aging actress. While the actresses of old had their own challenges in making it in Hollywood, Dunst realized women like Davis and Crawford had something today’s stars lack.
“But they also had a lot more leverage because they had contracts. So even though they were stuck, they could also bully the studio back,” said Kirsten. “Now you work for nothing on independent films, and you rely on the fashion industry to support your artistic endeavors.”
Kirsten Dunst is all too familiar with the pitfalls of working in Tinsel Town. Taking a page from Sofia Coppola, Dunst is preparing to direct her first full-length feature film, a reboot of the 1979 film The Bell Jar. Dunst has already cast Dakota Fanning in the lead, but production has stalled, as The Bell Jar awaits financing.
Kirsten says she has a cast of powerful actresses attached to the film, but adds that investors are nervous about backing a “depressing” drama that may not translate into a big box office draw. The plot of The Bell Jar isn’t the only obstacle. Kirsten recognizes she has more strikes against her, simply because she’s a female director attempting to shoot a female-driven plot.
“It’s always harder for women,” says Kirsten Dunst. “Everyone has to work 10 times harder.”
[Featured Image by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images]