Written by Connie | Posted on 27 May 2011| 0

Kirsten Dunst likes the lines around her eyes. She likes her thin lips, too, and is proud of the fact her teeth don’t align like soldiers on parade.

‘I like imperfection,’ the Hollywood star told me, although she understands that Hollywood was built on pillars of perfection.

‘I think it’s difficult to grow up going to the movies where things are so perfect, and that’s the idea of a movie star, too. You know, you see the star up there and a line or a pimple has been digitally removed so you look, well, perfect.’

Kirsten, who has just won the best actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival for her beautifully nuanced performance in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, continued: ‘People have said a lot of times: “Why don’t you fix your teeth?”

‘For me, the people I respect are like: “Don’t ever fix your teeth!” So, the aesthetic I migrate to is not the mainstream aesthetic.’

Kirsten cited her own mother as someone who has suggested ways in which Kirsten could ‘improve’ herself.

‘My mother’s like: “Your lips are pale, wear some red lipstick!” So when we go out to dinner, I’ll put on the damned red lipstick for her.

‘Mothers look at their daughters and they think they’re the most beautiful. But we’re just who we are.

‘My mum wanted me to fix my teeth, but when I was younger and wore braces I took out the retainer all the time. That’s why they didn’t get straight.

‘I remember taking the retainer out because I didn’t want to speak with a lisp.’

She’s not against glamour, but finds the insistence on it to be ‘so extreme’. ‘You go to the movies for that element of glamour, and I like the genre of romantic movies where you do have to look like an ideal of perfection, but sometimes you want to play real people as well.’

That’s why she enjoyed the freedom of making Melancholia in Sweden, because Von Trier and his creative team allowed her the time to have a feeling . . . ‘and, more importantly, the time to express it’.

In the film, which is being released here through Artificial Eye in September, Kirsten plays a newlywed who marries just as a planet is about to collide with Earth.

Her character, Justine, is more than a little bonkers.

That in itself is a manifestation of the director’s depression.

And Kirsten, too, has had struggles with the illness.

‘People shy away from the topic. It’s very difficult to do it cinematically and keep it interesting, because when you’re depressed you just want to sleep and don’t really do much — or you have anxiety.’

Has she conquered her demons? ‘Oh, yes. I have, and Lars has as well.’

When Kirsten first met the director, it took her a while to adjust to what she termed his ‘twisted sense of humour’.

She added: ‘You get used to it and you get to know Lars as a very loving father; and probably one of the most sensitive people I’ve ever met.

‘But then you have the Lars who just likes to say provocative stuff, or really inappropriate things, and joke about things I would never, ever say in a million years.’

Kirsten was, of course, referring to Von Trier’s outburst at Cannes, where he said he understood Hitler.

‘Yeah, I wanted to smack him,’ Kirsten told me. ‘I thought: “Argh! Stop talking, Lars!” ’

Then again, he did help her give one of the year’s best performances.