Tips and AdviceFilm SchoolSofia Coppola’s Clever Directing Tactic Kept Kirsten Dunst Comfortable On Set

Sofia Coppola’s Clever Directing Tactic Kept Kirsten Dunst Comfortable On Set


Key Takeaways:

– Director Sofia Coppola used a clever trick to maintain actress Kirsten Dunst's comfort during intimate scenes in The Suicides.
– Dunst started her as a child model before transitioning to acting, providing her with a vast experience in the industry from an early age.
– Despite widespread sexualization of young actresses in the late '90s, Dunst made a conscious decision to prioritize her comfort level over certain roles, turning down a role in American Beauty.

Entering the Industry Early: Kirsten Dunst's Career Journey

Kirsten Dunst, originally from Point Pleasant, became involved in the entertainment from the tender age of three. Initially starting as a child model, the move gave her a significant advantage as she transitioned into acting. Despite her early fame, her career journey wasn't without struggles, particularly when it came to scenes demanding intimacy.

Challenges On Set: The Virgin Suicides

Dunst made her mark by playing a significant role in Sofia Coppola's film, The Virgin Suicides. Based on a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides and set in the turbulent 1970s, the film narrates the tale of the Lisbon sisters' tragic story, following their complicated lives in suburban America.

An integral part of the film involved Dunst's character, Lux Lisbon, engaging in intimate moments with numerous characters on a rooftop. These scenes caused anxiety for the young actress, evoking feelings of discomfort.

Dunst explained in a interview, “There's a sequence where I'm making out with all these boys on a house roof. Sofia was like, ‘Don't worry. You don't have to make out with any of them. Just cover your hair and nestle into their neck. We'll make it all work.'”

Coppola's Directing Technique: A Saving Grace

Sofia Coppola's direction played a part in maintaining Kirsten Dunst's comfort on set. By instructing Dunst to cover her hair and snuggle into her co-star's necks, Coppola simulated a sense of intimacy in the scenes without requiring actual physical contact.

Despite the strategic move, Dunst still experienced difficult moments while filming the scene, particularly when having to demonstrate intimacy with , her co-star. However, the understanding nature of Coppola put the young actress at ease, reaffirming her desire to protect Dunst, given her young age. In the end, the 1999 film helped establish Dunst as a celebrated actress in the world of art-house .

Dunst's Stand Against Sexualization: Rejecting American Beauty

In the late '90s, Hollywood had an evident trend of sexualizing young actresses in films. Kirsten Dunst, gaining recognition during this time, was offered a part in the , American Beauty. The film's storyline concentrated on Lester Burnham, played by Kevin Spacey, and his midlife crisis, further fueled by his attraction towards a teenager, Angela.

However, Dunst felt that Angela's character didn't have her own story, rather serving as an embodiment of Lester's fantasies. Recognizing this, Dunst opted to let go of the role, which was later taken up by Mena Suvari. Dunst made this decision intending to ensure her comfort on set over being sexualized, a pressure that too many young actresses face in the industry.

In conclusion, The Virgin Suicides and American Beauty are available to stream on Amazon Prime . It is through stories like these that the challenges faced by young actresses in the industry continue to be brought to light, underlining the importance of prioritizing comfort on set.

Megan Diane
Hi, I'm Megan Browne, the Head of Partnerships at Project Casting - a job board for the entertainment industry. As Head of Partnerships, I help businesses find the best talent for their influencer campaigns, photo shoots, and film productions. Creating these partnerships has enabled me to help businesses scale and reach their true potential. I'm excited to continue driving growth by connecting people with projects they're passionate about.


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