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Kirsten Dunst recalls ‘miserable’ experience filming iconic Spider-Man rain-soaked upside-down kiss with Tobey Maguire

HomeEntertainmentKirsten Dunst recalls 'miserable' experience filming iconic Spider-Man rain-soaked upside-down kiss with...

For those who came of age in the early 2000s, few big screen moments seared into the cultural zeitgeist quite like the iconic upside-down kiss between Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in 2002’s Spider-Man. The rain-drenched clinch, with Maguire dangling precariously from his web, instantly secured its place in cinematic lore.

But according to Dunst, who recently unspooled the scene’s complicated legacy, realizing that coherent vision of director Sam Raimi’s was an unexpectedly arduous endeavor. “It was pouring with rain, freezing,” she revealed on The Jonathan Ross Show. “Tobey couldn’t breathe so it was almost like I was resuscitating him.”

The actress, who inhabited the role of Mary Jane Watson to Maguire’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man, described Raimi prepping her for the career-defining scene. “Sam really wanted to make it special…He gave me a book of famous kisses to be inspired,” she explained. However, the on-set reality ended up being more grit than glamour. “It was kind of miserable actually doing it.”

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Particularly challenging was Maguire’s inverted positioning required to capture the scene’s upside-down framing. “Tobey was having problems breathing during it because he was upside down,” Dunst said, undercutting any residual romance.

Despite the rocky road to completion, the La La Land native did concede an appreciation for her front-row seat to such an indelible cultural artifact. “It’s an iconic moment and it’s cool that I’m part of something like that in my career,” she told the British host.

The kiss certainly seemed to resonate at the time, taking home the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss in 2003. Its steaminess also helped cement the real-life chemistry between the two leads, who dated briefly after wrapping production before ultimately calling it quits in 2002.

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Now 41 years old and with a reputation as one of her generation’s most versatile and respected actresses, Dunst has long moved past her comic book ingenue days. She’s garnered critical acclaim for work in edgier indie fare like Melancholia, The Beguiled, and The Power of the Dog, which scored her an Oscar nomination.

But for many millennial viewers, she’ll always be the unattainable cool girl next door who helped set the template for the grounded, everygirl love interests populating so many superhero films that followed. Her natural presence and unmistakable charisma essentially established the archetype.

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In the two decades since donning Mary Jane’s iconic red hair, Dunst has maintained a steady stream of interesting and challenging projects across film and television. Her latest is the historical drama Civil War, which earned strong reviews after premiering at SXSW. In it, she plays a Virginia woman who risks her life to aid a wounded Confederate soldier on a treacherous journey to protect her family.

A far cry tonally and thematically from the heightened comic book action that once defined her, Civil War allows Dunst to showcase the full breadth of her dramatic skill set as a performer. But to a certain subsection of the population, she’ll remain eternally etched as the rain-soaked beauty who dared lock lips with a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, consequences and misery be damned.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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