Now that 22-year-old Kirsten Dunst seems to be in the Spider-Man franchise for the long haul, she's taking her character Mary Jane Watson seriously. Dunst has brought in her own stylists, wardrobe and hair team to style her character, and insists on making sure she's more than just Spidey's girl...
What is it that makes Mary Jane Watson, your role alongside Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man, different from the typical love interest in other superhero movies?
Mary Jane is a hero in her own right. She fights with her problems, for her family, for her love. And she fights with all she's got. She tries to get a grip in life and is also much more grown up than Spider-Man/Peter Parker, who is, let's face it, still rather childish. His social skills are so underdeveloped, because he's always so busy with being a superhero.
You also had a word with the scriptwriters about your character, didn't you?
Yes, I tried to make her character a little more determined. I told them, "She's a strong woman now. Don't let her scream so much like in the first part. She's much more than the damsel in distress!"
After Tobey Maguire hurt his back while making Seabiscuit, it seemed for a while that he wouldn't play Spider-Man again. There were talks that his replacement could be your boyfriend, actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Would that have been strange for you personally?
Well, it was very interesting to think about it, to say the least. But it was never really serious. I would really love to play with Jake in a movie once. But since the Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez films [Gigli, Jersey Girl] both bombed so badly, nobody seems to want to cast real-life couples any more.
Did you ever think about playing a girl superhero yourself, like Elektra or Catwoman?
No, I never had interest in playing a superhero. I want to play human characters, that is what fascinates me. Even as a child I never wanted to have super powers. I always was a very girly girl - I loved My Little Pony and musicals.
But wouldn't you like to wear one of those really sexy superheroine outfits?
I don't think they are sexy. I find them much too revealing. I don't like it when they throw everything in your face. I had complete control over Mary Jane's wardrobe, and I told them exactly what I was comfortable with and what I wasn't. I really didn't want to be the sex object in a superhero movie.