Playing Justine, a manic-depressive heroine in Melancholia, Kirsten Dunst not only earned the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival but it also drained her so much that she is taking the rest of 2011 off.
Working with Lars von Trier, the director of Melancholia, must have been a very trying experience; German von Trier joked that he was a Nazi and that he “understood Hitler”. Within hours the story had gone viral, prompting the Cannes organizers to expel von Trier from the Croisette. The defining image from this year’s festival may have been the sight of a stricken Dunst at the director’s side, clutching her throat in anguish.
This incident isn’t the most enjoyable memory for the actress.“Well yeah, you could see my face. I was choking, because I’m watching a friend having a meltdown. And what he’s saying is horrendous in a roomful of press. He was asked an inappropriate question [about his family] and his response was to make a joke about it. But no one laughed and he just kept unravelling,” she said.
Though von Trier is controversial in his own right and has an affinity for stirring the pot, Dunst credits British film critic, Kate Muir, for this dramatic turn of events. She also seems narked with her other cast members, who simply sat by. “That’s what I don’t understand. There were a lot of us sitting there. There was Stellan [Skarsgård], John [Hurt], Charlotte [Gainsbourg]. And no one said something. No one wanted to help,” said Dunst. “I was the only one to lean in to Lars and get him to stop. And, of course, I’m the one person that people would love to rope into that situation. They’d love to mess with me.”
On her working relationship with von Trier, Dunst was complimentary. “I’ve felt like a puppet on films before and have been really frustrated and angry. I mean, Lars might see himself as some master manipulator, but that’s not how he comes across. I mean, most of the scenes were improvised and he doesn’t even say much. How can that make me his puppet?”
via The Guardian
Written by Amanda Nowitz