When Kirsten Dunst talks about making movies, she’s not kidding around. At the age of 33, she’s got over 20 years of screen experience, from “Interview With the Vampire” to “Spider-Man.” But now, she’s turned to television because, as she told the Guardian, “There are just too many movies being made, I think. So many of them get lost. Too many cooks in the kitchen — the studio’s editing it, the producers are editing it, the director’s editing, too. But everyone has their hand in it, so whose movie is it at the end of the day?”
With “Fargo,” though, there’s no question about whose show it really is, and it was the work of showrunner Noah Hawley that brought her to FX. On the set of “Fargo” last April, Dunst gave Indiewire a few key details about the character of Peggy, a young woman who aspires to more than small-town life, and finds herself on the verge of losing everything, as well as the joys of the Minnesota accent and her regrets. But she also revealed why she signed on to her first series regular role: with television, you know what you’re getting into.
I wanted to start off by asking with something like “Fargo,” which is such a well-defined world with such a clear tone, how do you approach it?
I approach everything the same. I rewatched “Fargo” the movie, and obviously I’d seen the show and had read two of the [new] scripts before I did it. But it was such a great role, even those two scripts, it was just, “Where is this character going?” and “This is going to be so much fun to play.”
So you read the scripts and you were like, “Okay!”
Yes, exactly. I mean, the show speaks for itself. And that’s not always the case, where you get to say, “Oh, I’m going to work on something super legit.” Usually, when you do a movie you’re like, “Mmm, I’m not sure how this is going to turn out in the end.” But in this, you’re working with a great writer, he wrote the first season, the first season was brilliant. I know that whatever’s gonna happen, it’s going to be exciting for me to play and work on this, no matter what happens. When I’m working, I never think anyone’s going to see it. I don’t think no one’s going to see it because of the work, I just don’t think about that yet. I just think about what we’re doing and that we’re just living that life, and who knows.
Did you talk with Noah prior to signing on?
We had a meeting, yeah. We talked about it, but I think he just wanted to get to know me and make sure I was the right person to play Peggy, honestly.
What do you personally feel like you bring to the character?
Wow, It’s hard to say about yourself, you know? I was hired for a reason, I guess. [laughs] I don’t know, I think there’s a good mix of comedy, but I take it very seriously. Peggy is a funny lady, I liken her to a Scooby Doo character sometimes. And she’s a little delusional, but she’s so real and believes in what she believes in, so you root for Peggy, too.
So, we’ve had the plot of the first episode described to us, and the first episode takes you to not likable places.
Yeah, when you watch it, you’ll see who she is. You’ll be like, “Oh, why are you doing that?” I think she just hoped it would just go under the rug, and that she wouldn’t have to deal with it. She just has to get to this seminar, and she’s a little delusional. I don’t think of her that way, but I know that when you watch it, you might see it that way.
I mean, getting into “Fargo,” you have to know it’s going to take you someplace really dark.
Of course, yeah. I thought I’d get to kill more people, to be honest. I was a little disappointed with that.
Really, it doesn’t end with you on some like, mass murder spree?
So, the accent of course, is a big factor in the role, was it fun for you? Was it hard for you?
I had to get in the groove. I had done the accent before, for “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” which was way over the top for what we’re doing, but it’s not a hard accent for me to sink into. My grandma, she passed away, but she was from Minnesota, and she comes from a farm, with a family of 10. So it’s like, half my family is from Minnesota. So it’s in me, kind of.
So you understand this world.
I do. I spent summers in Minnesota, and I’ve been out on the farm.
What is about the small town experience that you think this show really captures?
I think it’s the behavior, how people interact with each other, especially in Minnesota. They’re very friendly to each other. It’s not like it’s making fun of it. It’s more charming to me, it’s sweet. I think that having the sweetness and then this stuff that happens, it makes it more palatable and give it a little bit of balance.
“Fargo” premieres Monday at 10pm on FX.