And her favorite body part? She takes a sip of champagne and thinks for a minute. “I like my legs,” says Dunst. “I like wearing short dresses and high heels. And I think I have good hair. The last time I cut it short, my boyfriend at the time was like, ‘You look so much better with short hair.’ So I cut it off.” At this point, I must have had a what-happened-to-Kirsten-the-feminist look on my face. “I know, I know, so stupid! My girlfriend thinks he just didn’t want any guys to look at me.” She drums her fingertips together and takes on a vampire-ish accent: “ ‘Mwuh-hah-hah! How can I make her ugly? Cut off her hair!’ ” Her laugh dies down and she’s serious again. “I actually can’t wait to have long hair. It’s getting a little longer and my face already looks better.”
The natural blonde (“I go to OC61 Salon on Madison and 61st to get highlights. I go to this chick Melissa who’s awesome”) famously dyed her hair red for her role in Spider-Man. “I attract a different kind of boy when my hair’s red,” she says. “I get more quality men—like a more thoughtful, nerdy dude.”
You might think that the actress, with a string of movies released back to back this year, would be completely focused on her career. But you’d be wrong. For the first time, settling down is becoming a priority for her. “I thought when I reached 30 I’d have a lot more figured out,” she says. “Until you have a kid, you’re just looking for your partner. And guys have a Peter Pan vibe. They’re 35 and they act like they’re 25. That’s what scares me about being in my 30s: not finding someone to have kids with.”
She sounds giddy at the prospect of starting her own family. “I can’t wait to relive life in a little kid’s way. I’m so ready for that lifestyle: Get a little place upstate and have them go to school up there.”
“They’re probably not watching a lot of Lars von Trier in upstate New York,” I point out.
“That’s good for me,” says Dunst. Then, affecting another one of her mock-serious voices, she holds up a hand and waves: “ ‘Oh, hello, neighbors, you saw my breasts in the last movie I did.’”
Despite the nudity, Dunst calls herself “pretty prude. I’m shocked by certain people’s behavior. I like the idea of not living with someone and having your own places. I’m very traditional.”
Outside, the sun has dropped closer to the Hudson River and inside Café Gitane the waitresses’ shadows have taken on Giacometti proportions. Maybe it’s the champagne, maybe it’s the talk of children, maybe it’s the orangey, movie-set lighting, but Dunst has grown nostalgic.
“I had such a great childhood,” she says. “My parents and I are really close. It’s funny: Every role they see their daughter in, they feel like is really happening. I remember when my dad saw All Good Things, he was like”—taking on her father’s most worried, wrinkled-brow expression—“ ‘And then you died!’ I’m like, ‘Dad, I’m right here! I’m alive! I’m fine.’ ”
That may be a huge understatement—given the career-defining roles, the best-actress award, the onslaught of accolades—for someone who is a few months shy of 30. But being fine may also be her ethos. Fine as in not crazy. Fine as in normal. Fine as in never missing an episode of The Bachelorette, as in being convincingly convinced that her nose is too round, as in outspokenly singing the praises of the transformative powers of a spray tan. A normal girl who was also in Spider-Man.
Soon Dunst has to go. She stands up to leave, we say goodbye, and I linger for a few minutes to go over my notes. My phone rings—it’s my editor. “So?” she asks. “How did it go?”
“We met at Café Gitane,” I say, reading from my notepad: “She’s totally nice.” The end.