The Two Faces of January - Kirsten Dunst interview
Compiled by Jason Palmer and Rob Carnevale
KIRSTEN Dunst talks about the appeal of playing Colette in The Two Faces of January and how she went about making her slightly different from the character in Patricia Highsmith’s novel.
She also talks about how she might handle Alfred Hitchcock and hanging out with her fellow cast members in Greece. She was speaking at a UK press conference…
Q. Colette is a lot more sympathetic in the film than she is in the book. Was that a deliberate choice to make her that way?
Kirsten Dunst: Well, for me, when I first read the script, it was one of the best written materials I had come across in a long time. It’s very hard to come across a well written script. So, firstly it was the story that appealed to me and then I talked to Hossein. At first, I know that he was maybe thinking about casting someone a little younger than me because to have that innocence or the flightiness of a woman who married rich. But really, what’s more interesting, is creating a real dynamic between us; a real husband and wife. Yes, she’s dillusioned a little bit by the money and the glamour but I think that Colette truly loves Chester and in order to make this dynamic interesting we needed to have a more filled out woman, rather than the girl in the film. That’s not interesting to me and I don’t think it’s interesting to anyone else, either.
Q. Colette appears to be the most innocent of the three but there’s a scene where Chester is getting drunk and she knows he’s paranoid about Rydal and the way he looks at her. She spends so much time in that scene being attentive to Rydal and ignoring her husband, is she looking for a way out already?
Kirsten Dunst: I don’t think Colette is innocent. She knows what he does but she doesn’t need to know all of it. So, that’s not being innocent; it’s just turning a blind eye. I think that in the ’50s that was OK and acceptable. Before that scene, for instance, you get little pieces of him starting to unravel. There’s something on the boat before that where he’s already saying that the only reason Rydal is coming along is because he thinks Colette is cute. They’ve already had dinner and there’s been a tension. So, I think I’m pushing his buttons because he’s pushing mine and we wouldn’t be in that situation if it weren’t for him. So, I think like any jealous boyfriend or whatever, you kind of want to stick it back to them and that’s my way of sticking it back to him.
Q. In a lot of ways your character is the Hitchcock blonde. Is that something you used as a reference point? And if you could go back in time, would you like to be directed by him?
Kirsten Dunst: Listen, I heard he was a real piece of work to his women obviously but I’ve worked with some real pieces of work in my time, so I think I could handle Hitchcock [laughs]. But actually, I had seen La Ventura as a reference, which I really enjoyed. So, I think that was my first idea in m yhead. I defintely felt that this film had a Hitchcockian feel to it. But I was a Hossein Amini blonde!
Q. Did you hang out with your cast a lot when you weren’t filming with them?
Kirsten Dunst: We hung out a lot together, yeah. I feel like we were always sort of in the hotel lobby entrance. We were either in our room or eating meat and cheese sandwiches.