Compiled by: Jack Foley
KIRSTEN Dunst shot to stardom as Mary-Jane in the blockbuster
Mark Ruffalo is best-known for his independent film work, including
You Can Count on Me and In the Cut,
with Meg Ryan.
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the two actors play
an unlikely couple. Mary is the receptionist at Lacuna
a mysterious clinic that helps patients erase memories.
Stan is one of the technical staff who pull off this secretive
process. And when he begins working on a comatose patient, Joel
(Jim Carrey), while entertaining his girlfriend at the same time,
much of the films comedic moments are born.
Q. How much fun was it to jump on the bed over Jim Carrey
for days at a time?
MR. It was fun. We started dancing with our clothes on, and
eventually we took a lot of clothes off. But Michel didnt
KD. Jim was lying there the whole time, and, after a while,
it just became like the movie, with guys hanging lights over him
and he just stayed there until lunch!
Q. What kind of set was it?
KD: Michel wore us down, but it was great. He followed us
everywhere with the camera and we reached a point where we really
didnt care that he was there. We could be free to do whatever,
so that made it funnier and I felt like I could give a better
performance doing it that way, because it wasnt so restricting,
worrying about your mark and where to move and how to sound. You
can be honest that way.
MR: He shot real wide, so that we would have a lot of freedom
to do whatever we wanted. He kept urging me to take off Kirstens
Q. What is special about being in a Charlie Kaufman script?
KD. I read the script and thought this was one of the best
things Id ever read in my life. Every little character is
filled out completely, and they all have their own journey, and
that is probably why so many great actors want to be in his movies,
because they have great ensemble casts and every role is so good
in its own way. My role isnt the biggest, but it has a great
storyline and I was excited with my characters journey in
the film. Also, he writes real womens roles, like they are
human beings, and not a weird fantasy version of a Hollywood woman.
Q. Is there a lot of discussion about each scene?
MR. There is always a parenthesis that you are working in.
[French accent]: "Go over there and dance like you are trying
too hard." And then hell let the camera roll and next
thing were on the bed, and my butt is in Jims face!
He was always giving you a lets try this.
Q. What do you think about erasing someone from your memory?
MR. You do anyway, because humans have good disassociating
KD. I wouldnt do it.
Q. Did the film make you think about how you put people out
of your memory?
MR. I dont think this technology is far away. I think,
in ten years, youll be able to go into memory and pick and
KD: It does make you think about that stuff. Were
all changing the outside stuff, with plastic surgery, so its
only a matter of time before the inside stuff gets changed!
Q. Do you avoid your own memories?
KD. Ive rehashed a lot of things. Its hard to
put things away, because they come out in other ways, so youve
got to deal with them sometimes.
MR. I think even if you erased them, youd find yourself
in your life saying, I cant believe Im in this
situation again maybe I should do something differently
Q. Kirsten, what did you think of your character?
KD. Shes a young girl who admires this older man, the
doctor she works for [Tom Wilkinson], and she has this fantasy
about him, and thinks he is a genius, but then shes also
hanging out with this loser guy, Stan, so she is basically pretty
lost. She is not the most centred girl, but she figures out a
lot by the end of the film.
Q. Mark, what do you think of your character?
MR. I thought he was a pretty decent fellow, and the whole
reason I did the movie was the last scene with them, which I obviously
cant talk about.
Q. What did you think of working with each other?
KD. I loved working with Mark; hes spoilt me for other
actors! I always lobby for Mark in every other movie I do now,
and I just got him an audition for a Cameron Crowe movie Im
doing. Hes awesome. I wasnt good at improvising, and
I was scared and nervous, and Mark made me feel totally relaxed
and great, so that I felt good about it. Its good to be
on the same team as the other actor, instead of some situations,
where you feel someone is trying to out act you!
MR. Kirsten is great and she was easy to work with and
became a good friend. Im a cheerleader, what can I say?