Maybe this Marie Antoinette was just too hip. "I knew that it wasn't going to be huge," admits Dunst of the film, as she pours herself a Coke. But she had high hopes, she says: "I did so many magazine covers and so much press for it. [Costar] Jason Schwartzman and I even went on MTV. We chopped dolls' heads off! We're like"and here's that Muppet voice again" 'Any gimmick! Come see our movie.' "
Despite Dunst's inclination toward self-mockery, she is clearly frustrated by the film's failure to connect with a wider audience. "I'm really disappointed in taste right now. I hope I don't sound weird," she explains. "I'm not bitter. I'm just a little, Well, that sucks because I really liked the movie. Whatevs. It'll live on."
Schwartzman, who starred as an awkward Louis XVI and is one of Dunst's few close actor friends, echoes her sentiments. "Marie Antoinette was a major experience for the both of us, without a doubt," he says. "Kirsten worked so hard every day, all day long. And it can be frustrating if your time or your work isn't viewed the way you view it."
Though the film will likely find a wider audience in DVD release, its lack of success makes her next move a little tricky. Indeed, if you're an actress trying to make intellectually creative choices in Hollywood and those choices are not received in the way you hoped, what's next?
"After Marie Antoinette, I was feeling that I had to prove myself," she says, pulling the sleeves of her V-neck sweater down over her hands. She sniffles a little. "Ugh. Like, I didn't do it. I didn't prove myself enough." But she says she quickly snapped herself out of it: "Then I thought, Whatever. I'm in a really happy place, and I want to do a fun movie. Why do I want to be superserious chick all the time? I have a dark side, but I also like comedy, so I think next I want to do something that's super over-the-top."
If all goes as she hopes, her "super over-the-top" next project will be a musical. She can't provide any details, as she's currently in negotiation for the role. Though she isn't known for her pipes, Dunst has sung onscreen before, in the little-seen romantic drama The Cat's Meow, in the teen comedy Get Over It and in one scene in Marie Antoinette. Dunst reveals she will also be singing a bit in Spider-Man 3, the third installment of the hugely successful Marvel franchise.
When we last left Mary Jane, she had just jilted her fiancé at the altar for Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), whom she now knows is Spider-Man. The chapter to be released on May 4 is "pretty jam-packed," says Dunst. "There's a lot going on. A lot of things are solved and resolved, and, well, that's the same thing." Dunst laughs, recognizing her flub and realizing she can't offer anything, really, in the way of plot points. "I'm sure there are snipers listening," she explains, looking out the window to the roof across the street from her 60 Thompson hotel room. Her spy voice sounds sort of like a pirate: " 'What's she giving away? She's going to crash the box office with W!' " The usually reticent Maguire, who has been working with Dunst on these films for the past six years, has nothing but praise for his costar. "She's just a pro," he says. "We're all there to make the best movie, and she's one of the leaders of that spirit and camaraderie."