The following feature appears in the September 2017 issue of NYLON.
“In a dark Mexican restaurant in the Valley...” is how Kirsten Dunst predicts I will start this profile of her. So here we are, in a dark Mexican restaurant in the Valley, eating chips and salsa under a chandelier shaped like a cactus. It’s one of her regular haunts, the kind of homey, low-lit, AC-heavy place that’s perfect to escape into on a white-hot, 90-degree Los Angeles day like today.
It’s fitting to flit between temperature extremes while speaking with the actress, who has made a career out of shifting seamlessly between cult indie flicks and superhero blockbusters. And like most of Dunst’s 35 years, this has been a busy one, from appearing in Cannes standout The Beguiled to this month’s Woodshock—the first feature film from Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy—in which she stars. Dunst recently accompanied the Mulleavys to Rodarte’s first Paris Fashion Week showing. “Their shows always make me cry because they’re two of my best friends. It’s like watching your baby walk. I’m like, ‘Aw, my friends, look what they did!’” she says in a funny, throaty, emotional voice. “And I’m always crying. I’m just that way. I cry a lot and I love my friends and I’m so proud of what they do.”
Dunst first met Kate and Laura over a decade ago, when the Mulleavy sisters had just started Rodarte. “I was the first actress to wear their clothes, and so eventually they sent me a little box of weird trinkets,” she says. “There was, like, a plastic fairy village in there and a little disposable camera.” She sent a thank-you note, and met them soon after at a Christmas party, where they became fast friends.
To prepare for Woodshock, a dreamy, spooky psychological horror film set in Northern California’s Humboldt County, the Mulleavys asked Dunst to rewatch Suspiria and Taxi Driver, as well as a National Geographic documentary about the redwoods and a Rolling Stones concert film (“not the one with the Hells Angels,” Dunst says, referring to Gimme Shelter).