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Kirsten Dunst: Queen of pastries and high brow stoner cinema

The actress reflects on getting high on the set of ‘Woodshock’ and her status as a pastry influencer 10 years after ‘Marie Antoinette’ ‘made macarons hot again’

 

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Autumn de Wilde/A24

A queen of many things, Kirsten Dunst’s road to the realm of big screen royalty has been more or less paved with buttercream icing.

Sofia Coppola’s 2006 crown jewel Marie Antoinette solidified her status as a purveyor of the culinary arts, as she memorably downed multiple, visually decadent pastries from the iconic French bakery Ladurée throughout the course of the period drama, which, according to her, inspired somewhat of an international hunger pang: “Sofia and I kick ourselves; we should have invested in Ladurée after Marie Antoinette, because those stores popped up everywhere,” she tells EW. “We made macarons hot again.”

Her title as the Reine de pâtisserie also goes hand-in-hand with her new movie, Woodshock, opening Friday. It’s an endlessly gorgeous, finger-licking meditation on grief and existentialism that doubles as a fabulous motion editorial for the delectable designs of Rodarte creators (and first-time directors) Kate and Laura Mulleavy. It’s also a two-hour, high-brow motion editorial interpretation of a stoner movie, as Dunst’s character, Theresa, copes with the loss of her mother by smoking a hell of a lot of weed. It’s trippy. It’s beautiful. It’s atmospheric. Dunst accidentally got high while filming it. And it also has one of the most potent auras of any movie this year, bound to give anyone who watches it a serious case of the munchies.

Read on for EW’s lively Q&A with Dunst, in which she discusses her under-the-influence experience that may or may not have made it into the final cut, how the media embellished Marie Antoinette‘s reception at Cannes (SPOILER ALERT: she says it wasn’t booed!), and why Apple (yes, that Apple) owes her a check.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This film is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. I’ll start with that.
KIRSTEN DUNST: I mean, I’m in it. When I first saw it, I was blown away by how it looks, the music, how everything comes together delicately and emotionally. But that’s the only time I’ll ever see it. I watched it in Venice, but I had a very long bathroom break, then I slept on my mom because I was jetlagged, then I held my ears closed and put my head down. I can’t deal with watching myself! I can watch [my movies] once. That’s it!

Well, this is an intense movie.
It’s not even that. I’m in every shot. I can’t look up and not see my face. Yeah, no. I can’t watch that. [Laughs]

It’s beautifully bucking so many traditions when it comes to the actual presentation of the story, though. Did you also have to interpret performing in a new way to match?
There are a lot of scenes with no dialogue, so there were times [my acting coach] would read pages to me, and I’d close my eyes and do whatever came to mind, depending on what I thought in the moment. It could be something so random, like I thought about cotton candy when the script describes how Theresa mixes her weed… I did a lot of dream work, too. You have to build a rich inner life before you start a movie like this, because you have no dialogue. You have to map out for yourself where this woman is and what she’s going through because it’s not handed to you on the page.

It’s funny you say you thought of cotton candy, because food is the first thing a high person thinks about. I’ve always been curious about scenes that involve smoking weed, if actors are actually doing it.
I didn’t smoke a joint in this movie, but someone gave me one! Maybe it was in a shot that made it into the movie? I’m smoking it and looking at the sky [toward the end of the movie], and we did so many takes. It was weird, because I thought I would’ve smelled it [if it was real], but I was so focused on what I was doing and making it look like I was really inhaling, I wasn’t thinking about smells. So [actually] I only had one in the movie, a real one, and it was a mistake.

So the joints were fake?
It’s like tobacco or crunched up herbs. But it still hurts your throat. It’s not fun to smoke.

Especially when you have to do it 30 times.
Not that many times, we’re a small movie! But even six times is a lot.

But you said you guys let locals roll the joints for you? You just grabbed local potheads to handle the props on a movie about weed?
We had a prop team, but I don’t think they knew how to roll joints, so they just asked somebody who was around. I don’t know how they found this person, but I guess they threw in some fun nuggets for us. After this happened to me… some [crew members] took the weed home, and they were like, “That was some of the strongest weed I’ve ever smoked.” [Laughs]

Wait, it was one shady person who infiltrated the set and caused a scene with real weed?
Oh yeah, for sure! They asked someone to roll some fake joints and they thought, oh, that’s fun, let’s throw a couple of these in.

So you still don’t know who this person is?
No! No clue!

Well, it’s one thing to get high making this movie, but it might be interesting to watch this movie while high. Do you recommend that?
Listen, if you’re a person who gets high before a movie, you get high before every movie. I wouldn’t recommend getting high before this movie, but if you’re someone who likes to be high before movies, then get high before this movie. [Laughs]

But it could add another element to understanding the story!
Hey, if that’s something you like to do before movies, by all means, I’d say do it, but I also can’t be a drug pusher!

Well, when it comes to the munchies, between the cake you eat in this movie and the pastries in Marie Antoinette, I feel like you’ve cornered the market on decadently eating impossibly gorgeous baked goods on camera.
I think I’m eating the cake with disdain, here. I have one bite and spit it out! But, Sofia [Coppola] and I kick ourselves; we should have invested in Ladurée after Marie Antoinette because those stores popped up everywhere [after we used their macarons in the movie]. Recently, I was in France with my friend and my goddaughter, and the little girl wants macarons all the time. We went inside a Ladurée, and I was telling my friend how Sofia and I should’ve bought stock in the company before the movie. We didn’t know it’d turn into such a big thing. And then these girls walked out of the store and saw me. They were like, ‘Oh, Kirsten! The reason we got macarons is because of Marie Antoinette!’ And I was like, there you go. We made macarons hot again.

I actually dreamt about eating Ladurée for years after that movie. When I moved to New York last year I finally tried one, and I thought about Marie Antoinette the whole time.
They’re everywhere. They’re even in airports! There were none when we made our movie.

You’re an influencer! A pastry influencer!
Yes, we messed up not investing in them. But, okay, I feel like I have to move on to savory [in my next movie]. Pasta, I don’t know.

Fair enough. Woodshock does feel similar to Marie Antoinette in a way, right? They both examine the female mind as it processes overwhelming external circumstances.
I can see how you’d take it like that. There’s not much dialogue, and both movies unfold through a very female way of looking at things. Men couldn’t have made either of these movies. It’s so funny that people talk to me about how much they love Marie Antoinette now. Do you know how dogged on we got when that movie came out? 

Yes! It was booed at Cannes!
Even that was blown so out of proportion. No one booed at our premiere! Yeah, a few people booed at a press screening, but they didn’t boo at our premiere. It’s funny how things are too ahead [of their time] for people, and later [everyone is] like, now I get it. That movie especially, it’s crazy to me. It’s apparently one of the most Instagrammed movies.

There’s also that tumblr-famous photo of you in costume on the set while using a MacBook.
Yeah, Apple should do a commercial with that and pay me a bunch of money.