Usually, child stars are expected to work with the same professionalism as adult actors in Hollywood. As such, they can sometimes be expected to do things on screen that are inappropriate given their actual ages. Kirsten Dunst is just one example of this. She’s been very open about her experience of being forced to kiss a grown man at a very young age, and a resurfaced interview has viewers in an uproar about the adults who surrounded her.
Dunst was uncomfortable with a particular scene from her breakout role
While Dunst made her first appearance on screen at the young age of six, her true breakout role wouldn’t come until she was 11 years old, in the form of the 1994 film Interview with the Vampire. In the movie, she plays 10-year-old Claudia, a little girl who was turned into a vampire by the film’s lead characters, played by Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.
As time progresses, Claudia matures psychologically but her body remains that of a 10-year-old girl. As she ages, she falls in love with Pitt’s character, and in one scene, producers required Dunst to kiss the 31-year-old.
Having to kiss Pitt when she was just 11 always stuck with her. In 2021, she recalled in an interview that kissing him was one of the worst parts about being in the movie. That, and having to bite the neck of her very sweaty co-star. “That was the worst thing I did,” Dunst explained. “And also having obviously to kiss Brad Pitt at that point. I was a little girl and he was like a brother to me and it was very weird even though it was a peck. I was very not into it.”
It turns out that Dunst was uncomfortable with kissing Pitt right from the get-go. Shortly after filming ended and the actors were sent on tour to promote the movie, she voiced her discomfort. She said at the time, “I hated [the kiss] so much because Brad was like my older brother on set and it’s kind of like kissing your brother. It’s weird because he’s an older guy and I had to kiss him on the lips, so it was gross.”
An interview from 1994 is going viral for her bravery
An interview that was filmed in 1994 featuring Dunst and her Little Women (1994) co-star, Samantha Matthis, has resurfaced and has been making rounds online. Sadly, Dunst was put in an awkward position by both the interviewer and Matthis, who was 24 years old at the time.
When the journalist asked if she really did hate kissing Pitt, Dunst responded bluntly. “Yeah because, well, y’know what, I love Brad, he’s so nice… it was just, like, it feels awkward. I mean I’m 12, and he’s, like, 31 and it’s like, he’s a man. So why would I enjoy kissing him?” Instead of standing up for her young co-star, Matthis joined in to tease Dunst about the kiss.
The 24-year-old actress said she would have loved to kiss the actor, saying to Dunst, “Maybe you’re not into kissing boys yet, so I can relate.” Dunst immediately shot back, “Well, especially because Brad is 31. I mean, he’s not exactly a boy.”
Many people have commented on the inappropriateness of the interview and the lack of support Dunst received for having to kiss a grown man when she was just a child. One person said that by stating she was ‘just not into kissing boys,’ Matthis was invalidating Dunst’s discomfort and placing blame on the young girl for how she felt in the inappropriate situation.
Many have praised Dunst for standing up for herself at such a young age against adults trying to poke fun at her. Additionally, lots of fans have criticized Matthis and the interviewer for their conduct.
The kiss affected her acting decisions later in life
The discomfort of the kiss has stuck with Dunst throughout her career, and was critical in helping her decide which roles she felt comfortable with and those she did not. Just four years later, when she was only 15 years old, Dunst was offered the role of 16-year-old Angela Hayes, the object of desire for Kevin Spacey’s character in the 1999 film, American Beauty.
“When I read it, I was 15 and I don’t think I was mature enough to understand the script’s material,” Dunst explained in an interview later in life. “I didn’t want to be kissing Kevin Spacey. Come on! Lying there naked with rose petals?” Not surprisingly, she ultimately turned down the role.
More from us: Where Are The Stars of ‘Interview with the Vampire’ Now?
Instead, the part was given to Mena Suvari, who, at 19, was a more appropriate age.