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Kirsten Dunst
Kirsten Dunst

'I am blessed with everything'

By Sara Lyle, CPNet Staff

You may have seen this young actress's face recently.

It's everywhere.

Kirsten Dunst's wholesome smile is looking up from box-office posters, out from TV commercials and down from movie trailers. Her dark comedy, "Drop Dead Gorgeous," and her Watergate knee-slapper, "Dick," are in theatres now. "The Virgin Suicides" is soon to follow.

In the 17-year-old's own words:

"Right now I'm really busy. I mean really busy."

So busy, she had no time for a phone interview while filming her latest project, "Cheer Fever." Dunst plays top tumbler Torrance Shipman, who takes her squad to the National Cheerleading Championships. The movie's challenging gymnastics require she hire a stunt double.

The real balancing act, though, is how Dunst, who won an MTV Movie Award as "Best Breakthrough Artist" for her role in "Interview With the Vampire," manages to maintain her hectic schedule while staying "just a teenager" with hopes of attending college in a couple of years.

Here's how the high school senior responded to CPNet's most-burning questions (via fax, no less):

College Press Network: A lot of articles talk about you in reference to the leading men you've worked with (Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, etc.). Does it bother you when people do this, instead of just discussing your individual acting ability and personality?

Kirsten Dunst: Absolutely not. I am honored to be associated with these leading men. I have learned so much from them. To work with actors of this caliber tells me that it is because of my ability that I'm hired, which makes me happy, since I work hard at it.

CPNet: You've worked in projects covering quite a variety of topics. What influences your decisions to do certain movies and not others?

KD: I try to pick projects I believe in. I try to stay away from a lot of the teen movies being developed right now and look for more-challenging roles that reach a larger demographic. If the producers and directors believe in a project, I tend to lean toward their vision.

CPNet: What did you think of the comparison people drew between President Clinton's actions and "Wag the Dog," in which a fabricated war distracted the nation from a scandal?

KD: It seems a lot of my movies these days are drawing comparisons to President Clinton's White House. I would have to disagree with that, though. "Wag the Dog" really looks at society and how much of what we see, we just accept and believe. We are a generation that is always looking for tabloid stories.

CPNet: In the press, you come across as a pretty mature teenager. Even so, what life experience do you draw from to prepare for roles like the young prostitute on "ER" and your upcoming part in "The Virgin Suicides"?

KD: I take my job very seriously, but I am still just a teenager. I haven't even had the time to get my driver's license yet. So my mom still drives me everyplace.

I draw from my observations. I sit down and really think about that character and what her flaws are and what her strengths are, and then I go from there.

CPNet: After filming "Interview With the Vampire," did you think your performance was going to be as well-received as it was?

KD: I was so young when I did "Interview With the Vampire" that I didn't even realize what "well-received" even meant. The set was great, though, and I don't think I have ever had an experience quite like it since. It was a great experience.

Kirsten Dunst in 'Dick'
Dunst as Betsy Jobs in 'Dick'
CPNet: What do you enjoy about being a celebrity at such a young age? What don't you enjoy?

KD: I am blessed with everything in my life. I really can't think of a negative about being a celebrity except balancing work and school. Sometimes it is just really overwhelming, and I do wish I could spend more time with my friends.

CPNet: Does your profession leave you much time for schoolwork and friends? What are your favorite things to do when you're not working on a project?

KD: Right now, I'm really busy. I mean really busy. This summer I have had two films released, "Dick" and "Drop Dead Gorgeous." I also finished shooting "All Forgotten," and I am currently in production for a film called "Cheer Fever."

I have great friends, though. All summer they have come down to visit me. It's the best! We have had so much fun. It's definitely a better vacation than I would have at home staying in L.A.

Plus, I have really gotten into body surfing this summer, which I love! I think surfing is next. In my free time, I love spending time with my family (I'm really close with them.) and friends, bowling, going to movies, shopping and playing guitar.

CPNet: Do you still want to study film and literature at NYU after you graduate from high school? If not, what are your plans?

KD: I am still very interested in studying film and literature, although I haven't decided on a school yet. I have just completed my junior year of high school, which is the hardest. So I am kind of playing it by ear to see what I will do next. I may take a year off before I go to college and just work.

CPNet: Lastly, what do you think is the most misunderstood thing about teenagers?

KD: The most misunderstood thing about teenagers is that we still need guidance. I mean we have unlimited potential, but we are still very young and should listen to people who already lived through our situations.


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