Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Kirsten Dunst: “I Feel the Pressure of Making On the Road”


Kirsten Dunst–a late entry in the Oscar raceĀ  in Andrew Jarecki‘s “All Good Things”–is shooting Jack Kerouac‘s classic novel, “On the Road” right now. She plays Mary Lou Camille, one of the female leads in the Walter Salles production. (Marylou is played by Kristen Stewart.)

“Believe me, I feel the pressure,” she told me last night at the “ATG” premiere. “I know how big it is. Every time I’ve been on the set, I’ve thought, ‘This is On the Road.'”

Jareck–of Moviefone fame–threw a lavish premiere at the very hip Buddakan following the screening with Candice Bergen, Nora Ephron and Nick Pileggi, Bob Balaban and Lynn Grossman, famed singer Kate Taylor (James’s sister), “Knots Landing” star Michele Lee, ABC’s Lynn Sherr, Griffin Dunne, and Parker Posey all captivated and caught up in the “Cold Case” nature of the mystery.

In the film, Dunst plays Kathie, Ryan Gosling is “David” or Robert; and Lily Rabe is Susan. Frank Langella is sublime as always as the Durst patriarch, Seymour. They are outstanding performances. And while Gosling goes for Best Actor in “Blue Valentine,” Dunst has a square shot for Best Supporting Actress as Katie/Kathie.

You think you know Kirsten Dunst. But she’s only 28. “I’m at a funny age,” she told me last night. “There aren’t so many great parts. Believe me, I’m looking.” She’s being choosy. Her portrayal of Katie will knock her up several pegs. She’s a serious, dramatic actress who can carry a film.

“ATG” is true crime murder mystery changes the names of the real people, but is very much based on the 1982 disappearance–still unsolved– of Kathie Durst. the young wife of New York real estate heir Robert Durst. He’s from the wealthy, dynastic Durst family, here with name changed to Marks.

Imagine that in 28 years, no one has ever figured out what happened to Kathie Durst. It’s been surmised that Robert, her crazy husband, killed her. Jarecki’s very taut thriller traces the couple’s marriage, the disappearance, and a 2001 trial for another crime Durst was accused of: dismembering a friend. He cut the guy up, but a brilliant Texas jury acquitted him. He served four years in jail for miscellaneous crimes. But Durst never stood trial for Kathie’s murder or the murder of his female best friend, Susan Berman. He remains the only suspect in the latter.

Durst, according to the New York Times, likes the movie. He’s also living on a $65 million settlement from his family. Crime pays! The Durst Organization has threatened to sue the filmmakers for maligning them. Kathie Durst’s brother told me: “We pray for Robert every day to do the right thing. We just want to know what happened to Kathie.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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