The Advice Tom Cruise Gave Kirsten Dunst That Helped Her Land Her Iconic Interview With The Vampire Role

Kirsten Dunst and Tom Cruise in Interview With A Vampire
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Kirsten Dunst is among a crop of actors who started starring in movies as a kid and have found enough success (and life balance) to become successful into adulthood. The 39-year-old actor, who is currently receiving Oscar buzz for her role in The Power of the Dog, recently looked back over her career and remembered the moment she auditioned for her role in Interview With The Vampire, which would become her big break, and there’s a Tom Cruise story involved. 

In an episode of The Playback with Netflix, Kirsten Dunst did a deep-dive through her over 30-year career in Hollywood and shared how Tom Cruise may have helped her nab the role of Claudia. In her words: 

I auditioned many, many times for this role. This was also a huge deal for me, this was my breakout role. And then I had another screen test after that with Tom Cruise. And I remember I was the tallest of all the young girls. He had to pick each one of us up and carry us around. Just to see how we looked against Tom, and who looked the most childlike I guess. And I remember Tom whispering to me, ‘Tuck your legs under’ so I looked as tiny as possible because I was the tallest girl.

Kirsten Dunst was apparently at a disadvantage as a rather tall 11-year-old trying out for the role (she would grow up to be an above-average 5'7'', after all). She remembers auditioning with Tom Cruise, (who is coincidentally also 5'7'') for a scene where the filmmakers were testing to see how Claudia would look next to Cruise’s Lestat. Dunst continued: 

So I knew he was kind of rooting for me, and we were both from New Jersey. And I think he was like ‘let this Jersey girl have it.’

Kirsten Dunst thinks the decision had something to do with the both of them hailing from Jersey, but as evidenced all these years later, she really had the stuff to go far in the business. The actress, of course, got the role and had the opportunity to work with the likes of Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas and Christian Slater before high school. 

Following Interview With The Vampire’s release, which became a big commercial success in 1994, Kirsten Dunst was chosen for two more high-profile roles in Little Women and Jumanji. She’d later spend her teen years making movies like The Virgin Suicides, Drop Dead Gorgeous and Bring It On before becoming Mary Jane Watson in the first Spider-Man movies

In recent years, Kirsten Dunst has continued to take on some fantastic projects, such as her Emmy-nominated role in Fargo and her latest film, The Power of the Dog. The Netflix Western also stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Thomasin McKenzie and her real-life husband, Jesse Plemons. All these years later, it’s interesting to see how it all began for Dunst and to see Tom Cruise was on her side from the beginning. The Power of the Dog is now streaming on Netflix. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.