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Kirsten Dunst is opening up about ageism in Hollywood and why she hasn’t been working as much lately.

In a cover story for Marie Claire as part of its 2024 Makers Issue, the Oscar-nominated actress explained that following her role in 2021’s The Power of the Dog, she was only being offered one kind of role: “the sad mom.”

So, instead of taking on any project, Dunst stepped back from acting for two years after the Jane Campion film because she wasn’t being offered the meaty roles she wanted that she could get lost in and were worth her time.

“To be honest, that’s been hard for me…because I need to feed myself,” she told the publication of not working for two years. “The hardest thing is being a mom and…not feeling like, I have nothing for myself. That’s every mother — not just me.” She added, “There’s definitely less good roles for women my age.”

She was eventually approached about starring in Alex Garland’s Civil War, and she said yes. She explained to the publication that she had never seen a script like Garland’s, and she was eager to do something fresh.

Elsewhere in the conversation, Dunst also opened up about how she is often drawn to female directors, sharing that she saw the “power in women” very young, which she felt helped her not need male attention in her decades-long career.

“I feel like I get hired because I’m someone that [male directors] might want to sleep with,” the Marie Antoinette star said. “I think that’s probably why I migrated to so many female directors at a younger age because I didn’t want to feel that way.”

Dunst’s acting career began when she was 6 years old with an uncredited role in New York Stories. She was already relatively famous when she starred as Mary Jane Watson in 2002’s Spider-Man, which further catapulted her to stardom.

While she hasn’t done any other work in superhero films since Sam Raimi’s trilogy, she would be open to doing one again, noting, “You get paid a lot of money, and I have two children, and I support my mother.”

Civil War will release in theaters on April 12.



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