Kirsten Dunst Deserves a Lot More Than Hollywood’s ‘Sad Moms’ Trope

"Every role I was being offered was the sad mom," Dunst told Marie Claire of her brief hiatus from the big screen.

Kirsten Dunst Deserves a Lot More Than Hollywood’s ‘Sad Moms’ Trope

After a nearly three-year hiatus, Kirsten Dunst is working again, and thank whoever you pray to for that. Dunst is currently doing the press cycle for Civil War, an A24 film where she portrays a photojournalist in dystopian America (as in, more so than the one we’re already subsisting in). And in a new interview with Marie Claire, she got candid about what kept her away from the big screen all this time.

“Every role I was being offered was the sad mom. To be honest, that’s been hard for me…because I need to feed myself,” Dunst told the magazine. Her last big film was Jane Campion’s 2021 film, The Power of the Dog, in which Dunst notably played…a sad mom. “The hardest thing is being a mom and…not feeling like, I have nothing for myself. That’s every mother—not just me.”

She then added: “There’s definitely less good roles for women my age.”

That this is the experience of an incredibly adept actor like Dunst is bleak—even more so considering that she’s hardly the first to speak out about ageism in the industry. In 2015, Maggie Gyllenhaal told The Wrap that she was once turned down for the role of a 55-year-old lover because she was too old. At the time of the rejection, she was…37. Elizabeth Banks has also gone on the record to share that when she was 28 years old, she was told she was too old to portray Mary Jane Watson, Tobey McGuire’s love interest in the 2002 Spiderman film. That role, of course, went to Dunst, who was 20 at the time. Frankly, you get it. We’ve all seen this story before.

Speaking of superhero movies, though! Later in the interview, Dunst was asked if she’d ever accept a part in one again.

“Yes,” Dunst said before offering the most honest explanation I’ve seen from an actor attempting to justify roles they’re clearly unenthusiastic about (ahem, Dakota Johnson). “Because you get paid a lot of money, and I have two children, and I support my mother.”

I think I speak for every Dunst stan when I say: Get your bag, babe. Just as long as it doesn’t require playing a sad mother (or grandmother) at 41 years old.

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