Actress. Born April 30, 1982, in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. Unlike so many child actors whose promise diminishes with the onset of adulthood, Dunst has grown in both range and popularity. She has already garnered over 40 film and television credits and continues to command hefty sums for acting appearances.
Dunst made her acting debut before she was able to walk. She was signed to the Ford Modeling Agency as a child and by age 12, she had made over 100 commercials.
In 1989, Kirsten Dunst made her film debut with a small role in Woody Allen’s New York Stories. This was soon followed by a role as Tom Hank’s daughter in the film adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s bestselling novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities.
Dunst got her big break at the tender age of 11, when she played the pre-pubescent bloodsucker Claudia in the screen adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. Although critical response to the film was mixed, Dunst received high marks from reviewers for her controlled portrayal of an adult perpetually trapped in a child’s body. Rice’s literary following flocked to the film and made Dunst a ghoulish cult favorite. For her performance, Dunst received the MTV Movie Award for best breakthrough performance and a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress.
Kirsten Dunst went on to appear in a string of major Hollywood productions including Little Women (1994), Jumanji (1995) and Wag the Dog (1997), but also received critical attention for her performances in the less-publicized mock-documentary Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999) and the political spoof Dick (1999).
Dunst engineered a successful transition to “adult” roles with her 2000 appearance in Sophia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides. Dunst received positive critical attention for her facility with the movie’s weighty themes of teen suicide and burgeoning sexuality.
In 2002, Kirsten Dunst brought the much-loved comic book character Mary Jane “M. J.” Watson to the big screen in the blockbuster film Spider-Man. With Tobey Maguire in the title role, it showed the transformation of Peter Parker into the legendary web-slinger. The film marked her first foray in action films. To play Peter Parker’s spunky love interest, Dunst had to dye her blonde hair to red and handle being put in great peril. The duo reprised their parts for the sequel Spider-Man 2 in 2004, in which the superhero battled Doc Ock (Alfred Molina). In the latest installment, Spider-Man 3, Peter Parker must wrestle with internal forces as well as villains to keep from destroying his relationships with those he cares for, including his great love M. J.
In addition to her work in the mega-successful Spider-Man franchise, Kirsten Dunst has continued to work in smaller, off-beat films. She appeared in the unusual romantic drama Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. Working again with Sophia Coppola, Dunst took on the title character in Marie Antoinette (2006), one of most infamous members of the French aristocracy.