Monday, October 09, 2006
Don't boo Kirsten!
"Of course the French are going to boo!" exclaims Kirsten Dunst, with much joie de vivre. [...] But these boos were actually more like BEEEWs — that is, boo with a French accent. So Dunst is right: It was mainly the French who were booing. (This reporter was there, and heard 'em.) And those applauding far outnumbered les hissy fitteurs. That part, however, got somewhat lost in all the follow-up to Cannes. Rather than ''the movie that got booed at Cannes,'' Marie Antoinette was more like ''the movie that got beeewed by a few cranky French guys sitting up in the balcony at Cannes.''
Which actually makes a lot more sense. Here, again, is Dunst: ''It takes a lot of cojones to make a movie with Americans in these roles as French royalty, and then show it in Cannes to the French. I didn't take it to heart. How would we feel about the French doing a movie about George Washington with French actors?'' [...]
''In the beginning, when I thought of doing a period film,'' says Coppola, ''part of the challenge was making a period film in my style, and not just fall into the formula. Period films are a genre, and I didn't want to make a movie in someone else's genre.'' Dunst signed right up. ''I knew Sofia wouldn't be doing a history lesson or anything like that,'' says Dunst, who also starred in Coppola's first feature film, The Virgin Suicides, back in 2000, adding, with a chuckle, ''I'm sure the BBC can do that. I knew from Sofia's other films that this would be from Sofia's perspective, how she related to Marie, and what she found appealing about her, and so on. It all felt very present-day to me. It didn't feel like we were making a movie about the past at all.'' [...]
For her part, Dunst — who'll next appear in Spider-Man 3 — thinks it's great if people are split in different directions by Marie. ''I think that's the sign of a pret-ty provocative film, you know?'' she says delightedly. ''Why should everyone be told what they should think about it? It's very open to interpretation.… Sofia lets things breathe. I like the fact that there wasn't a lot of dialogue, and not so much explaining things all the time. I like working like that. Now I'm reading scripts and I'm like, 'Oh, my God, they talk so much!''
''Sometimes I felt really isolated because it was such a lonely part to play,'' Dunst explains. ''I didn't really interact with that many people. A lot of times I was just by myself.… I couldn't really rely on other people to get it out of me. I was really thankful when Jason was on set, because then I could unload a little bit on him.'' Before a lot of scenes, she'd play Aphex Twin's wistful solo-piano ditty ''Avril 14th'' to put herself in the right reflective mood: ''That was my sad little lonely song that I'd listen to a lot.''
Since the movie is such an unconventional take, Dunst never got too caught up in researching Marie's life or trying to channel the spirit of a dead queen. ''This is the role where I think I was probably allowed to be the most myself,'' she says. ''This was my most satisfying [part]. And for me, when I watched the film for the first time, it was the most vulnerable I've ever been in a film before. I really showed myself in this movie the most.''
And now, here she is again. For this portfolio of Marie-inspired shots, White used the music and new look of Coppola's film as his blast-off point. ''Instead of the typical Marie Antoinette story,'' he says, ''we wondered what would happen if Marie was actually in the 1980s, and we gave her this little punk twist.''
Heads will rock and roll." from Source Entertainment Weekly, 9th October, by Gregory Kirschling.