Kirsten Dunst says violence in new ‘Civil War’ movie left her with PTSD

Kirsten Dunst says violence in new ‘Civil War’ movie left her with PTSD

Kirsten Dunst has said that the experience of shooting hyper-realistic war sequences for the upcoming A24 film Civil War left her with “PTSD for a good two weeks”.

The Marie Antoinette actor, 41, stars as a military-embedded photojournalist documenting post-apocalyptic America in the upcoming war drama from Ex Machina and Annihilation writer-director Alex Garland.

Speaking to Marie Claire, Dunst said that combat sequences and a car chase shot in rural Georgia “shook me to my core”.

“I remember hearing them practice an explosion,” the actor continued. “We were in the hair and makeup trailer, which was very far away from set, and the whole trailer shook.”

She added that other violent scenes, such as a gunfight set outside the White House, hit home because of how closely they seemed to echo reality. “There’s so much gunfire,” Dunst said, “And then you look at the news and it’s a school shooting again.”

The actor told the magazine that she “had PTSD for a good two weeks after [the film shoot]. I remember coming home and eating lunch and I felt really empty.”

In terms of the parallels to contemporary politics, Dunst said that she sees the film as “a cautionary tale, a fable of what happens when people don’t communicate with each other and stop seeing each other as human beings”.

Kirsten Dunst in A24’s ‘Civil War' (A24)
Kirsten Dunst in A24’s ‘Civil War' (A24)

Civil War is set to arrive in cinemas on 12 April.

In 2021, Dunst talked to The Independent about her experiences graduating from a child star to a Hollywood regular.

Recalling being cast by Sofia Coppola in 1999’s The Virgin Suicides while she was still just 16, Dunst recalled: “The fact that the coolest girl liked how I looked, that’s what preserved me.

“She made me feel pretty. As a 16-year-old girl, you feel like crap about yourself, right? So to have my first experience of a more ‘sexy’ role be through her eyes gave me a confidence that helped me deal with a lot of other things.”

She also noted the pay disparity between her and co-star Tobey Maguire while making 2002’s Spider-Man. “The pay disparity between me and Spider-Man was very extreme,” she said.

“I didn’t even think about it. I was just like, ‘Oh yeah, Tobey [Maguire] is playing Spider-Man.’ But you know who was on the cover of the second Spider-Man poster?” Dunst flashed a grin and pointed at her chest. “Spider-Man and ME.”