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Kirsten Dunst Reflects On Spider-Man Pay Disparity With Tobey Maguire

Kirsten Dunst in Spider-Man
(Image credit: Sony)

While comic book movies are everywhere thanks to the various cinematic universes in play, there was a time when these types of massive blockbusters were rare. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy is in that category, making a ton of money long before serialized storytelling became commonplace. And Mary Jane Watson actress Kirsten Dunst recently reflected on her pay disparity with co-star Tobey Maguire.

Actor Tobey Maguire portrayed the title character in all three original Spider-Man movies, with Kirsten Dunst playing love interest Mary Jane throughout the trilogy. And it turns out that she was being paid way less than her co-star, something that she’s reflected on in the years since wrapping the 2007 threequel. The Bring It On icon addressed that time in her career, saying:

The pay disparity between me and Spider-Man was very extreme. 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? Spider-Man and ME.

Touche. While Tobey Maguire obviously had a ton of work to do as Spider-Man including stunts and fight choreography, Kirsten Dunst was an established actress who was prominently featured in all three installments. And as such, she thinks she should have been paid better in retrospect.

Kirsten Dunst’s comments to The Independent come as she’s currently promoting her new movie The Power of the Dog. Eventually the conversation turned to her tenure as Mary Jane Watson-- a role that some fans are hoping she’ll reprise in Spider-Man: No Way Home. And it turns out that Dunst has processed her own thoughts about the discrepancy between her pay and that of Tobey Maguire.

For a few years now, the entertainment industry has been addressing inequity in the business, whether it is based on gender, race, or sexual orientation. Shameless actress Emmy Rossum famously fought for equal pay with co-lead William H. Macy. But the original Spider-Man trilogy filmed during a different time, seemingly before Kirsten Dunst was comfortable speaking out on that particular issue.

As previously mentioned, some fans are hoping that Kirsten Dunst will pop up sometime throughout the course of Spider-Man: No Way Home. The actress has personally denied these reports, although she did seem to down play Mary Jane Watson again. Still, moviegoers will likely hold out hope until the upcoming blockbuster arrives in theaters. After all, Alfred Molina and other past villains will be appearing.

For her part, Kirsten Dunst has continued her successful career in the years following Spider-Man 3’s release. She was nominated for an Emmy for her role in the second season of Fargo, and has appeared in notable titles like Hidden Figures and even a sly Black Mirror cameo

Kirsten Dunst can be seen in The Power of the Dog in theaters this weekend, while Spider-Man: No Way Home will follow suit on December 17th. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.