When 19-year-old Kirsten Dunst was cast as Mary Jane in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, she was featured prominently.
She was front-and-center in the movie’s most iconic scene: the unforgettable upside-down-in-the-rain kiss. It was a rare role where, instead of just being treated as “the girlfriend,” Mary Jane was rightfully given a personality. In fact, a scene where she stands up for herself while working as a waitress was recently meme-ified. Dunst was also featured alongside Tobey Maguire in one of the posters for the movie. But looking back, Dunst says she was paid far less than Maguire for the role—despite being a well-established actor at that point.
“The pay disparity between me and Spider-Man was very extreme,” she tells The Independent writer Alexandra Pollard in a new profile. “I didn’t even think about it. I was just like, ‘Oh yeah, Tobey is playing Spider-Man.’ But you know who was on the cover of the second Spider-Man poster? Spider-Man and ME.”
She also recalls that, for Spider-Man, a producer took her to the dentist without her consent in order to fix her teeth. He drove her there without telling her what was going on, and she realized what was happening when they arrived. “I was like, ‘Mmmmm, no, I like my teeth.” She adds, “Also, Sofia [Coppola] loved my teeth.”
While filming Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola made teenaged Dunst feel comfortable with her perfectly normal-yet-imperfect teeth, which instilled enough self-confidence in the teen for her to challenge producers who wanted to control her looks. Dunst says that her teeth were still straightened in the Spider-Man poster, against her wishes.
In the profile, Dunst also addresses the biggest mystery in her career: why she has never been nominated for an Oscar. When asked how she feels about it, she admits, “I did feel a little like, ‘Huh, I’ve been doing this for so long. Maybe I’m just not… I’d rather carve out my own career path than follow some kind of formula. I’d rather be in that crew.”