Lauded for her powerful portrayal of a deeply depressed bride in “Melancholia,” Kirsten Dunst said the scenes where she bares it all are “beautiful.”
“I’m lying down, that helps,” the 29-year-old actress said with a laugh.
In an interview with ABC’s Juju Chang at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation in Los Angeles, Dunst talked about her film career and playing the role of the disturbed Justine in a film partly about depression and partly about a mysterious alien planet on a collision course with Earth. In “Melancholia,” Dunst is shown bathing and laying naked on mossy rocks, but the actress is unfazed that those nude scenes will likely be exploited and splashed across the Internet.
“What we made as a film means more to me than the fact that, you know, I’m on the Internet naked,” Dunst said. “It looks beautiful, it was shot well. It’s a beautiful film. It is not something I feel embarrassed about.”
But when it comes to family, Dunst said she was the one who worried most about what they would think of her performing nude.
“My dad is from Germany, so he is European. So he was like, ‘It is art, and I made you, and you are beautiful,’ so he had a very sensible way, because I was freaked out,” she said. “I feel like even my brother, I don’t know if he has seen the movie yet, but even he was like, ‘It is not a big deal,’ you know, so I am the one who was the most prude about the whole thing.”
Oscar buzz has swirled around Dunst for her role since the hauntingly effective “Melancholia” came out in November – Oscar nominations will be announced on Monday. She already won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for her portrayal as a woman who is beaming at her wedding, then slowly slips away. In one powerful scene, Dunst is seen sitting in a bathtub, silently suffering and unable to function.
“I think depression often puts people in that childlike state,” she said. “You feel debilitated, so I didn’t relate to that– of being that incapacitated, where you couldn’t bathe yourself. That was a very emotionally difficult place to go.”
Depression is a condition the actress knows about firsthand. In 2008, Dunst went to rehab to be treated for depression at Utah’s Cirque Lodge. When developing the characters she plays, the actress said she has always looked inward.
“I feel like every role comes to you at different times in your life even if you don’t realize why it was important,” Dunst said. “I think you just come out with a better sense of self. I think that is probably just what happened to me.”