Kirsten Dunst on Her SAG Nomination Wake-Up Call: I Was Napping After My Son ‘Threw Up at 4 A.M.’

·3-min read

The year that Screen Actor Guild Awards launched in 1994, 12-year-old Kirsten Dunst made a big impression with her performances in “Interview With the Vampire” (for which she scored a Golden Globe nomination) and as the youngest of the March sisters in “Little Women.”

On Wednesday, Dunst received her first solo SAG nomination for her role as the fraught mother of a teenager in Jane Campion’s 1920s-set “The Power of the Dog.” (Lead actor Benedict Cumberbatch and supporting actor Kodi Smit-McPhee were also nominated for the film.) Five years ago, she won the SAG Ensemble award as a member of the cast of “Hidden Figures.”

“It just feels so wonderful to be included and be in a movie that people are watching and people are loving,” Dunst told TheWrap after the nominations were announced. “It doesn’t happen all the time, so I feel very lucky.”

The nomination also allowed the actress, now 39, to reflect on her life nearly three decades ago. “When you’re younger, you can’t really comprehend these kinds of things,” she said. “I’ve been doing this for so long, and when you’re older, you just enjoy it more. Now that I’m older, I can really appreciate being celebrated by my fellow actors in a different way. When you’re little, playing with Barbies matters more.”

She’s quite familiar with youngsters, however. Dunst has a two sons, a 3-year-old and an 8-month-old, with her “Power of the Dog” co-star Jesse Plemons. “And one of my children threw up at 4 a.m., so I was actually napping when I woke up to all these texts that I’d been nominated. And I was like, ‘Hold on, gotta give the baby a bottle first.’ It’s a funny balance right now between these two parallel worlds.”

For Dunst, the greatest pleasure of this accolade is that it’s connected to the experience of working with Campion. The New Zealand director had written Dunst a letter in 2001, expressing an interest to work together. “She’s always been close to Sofia Coppola and has loved her work,” Dunst said. “And because of that and ‘The Virgin Suicides,’ she was familiar with mine. I know she really loved ‘Melancholia’ (2011) and so I was on her radar. But with these great filmmakers, they have such specific ideas of who they want to cast. You can’t really influence them in any which way.”

After Campion called her in 2019 for this role, Dunst jumped and screamed in joy. “The performances in her movies have always inspired me as an actress,” she said. “You can tell what she wants from her actors is a lot more than what you normally get, especially in terms of the female performances. So this was the ultimate. It was like winning the lottery. I was over the moon.”

And she’s thrilled to be part of a Campion’s legacy. “When I’m old, this will be one of the big highlights of my film career,” she said. “And also, I’m proud that I’ve been able to work in this industry for so long and carved my own path.”

“The Power of the Dog” is streaming now on Netflix.

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