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Dunst Grows Up In Spider's Arms

It's tough when the man you love has a secret life. But it's even tougher when the secret is he's Spider-Man.

That's the dilemma faced by Kirsten Dunst in "Spider-Man 2." The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen recently spoke with the actress about all the changes she's gone through since the original "Spider-Man" movie broke box-office records across America.

In "Spider-Man 2," Dunst's character Mary Jane is growing up and moving on. When she can't get the secretive Peter Parker to commit to a relationship, she gets engaged to someone else.

Since making the first "Spider-Man" movie, Dunst says she's matured as well.

"I felt much more confident," she says. "Also, Mary Jane's just grown up a lot. Like, she's really the one driving hers and Peter's relationship and challenging it. And she kind of tells him, in this movie, how it's going to be, which I (laugh) like."

It's something Dunst says she can relate to in real life. She says, "I've definitely grown into that power, but you don't know your power as a woman, sexually, or whatever. Just the first one, I didn't, I didn't have a real grasp of that. And, it shows in the character."

She is used to growing onscreen. She worked in "Interview with a Vampire," more than a decade ago. "That was a long time ago," she says with a laugh and notes she does not quite recognize herself in it.

"That's such a different time for me," she tells Chen. "I mean, I do recognize it, but it's also unnerving, too, to know that that's on film forever. The fact that we're still talking about it, even though it was great, it's, like, yeah, it was done when I was 11, though. You know what I mean? Like, so much has happened since then that it's kind of, like, a reminder sometimes to me that, like, I haven't given a performance like when I did when I was 11, or something like that."

The fact is Dunst has been gracing the screen with many fine performances over the past decade, including her appearance in this year's highly acclaimed, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

That's a role Dunst says she is very proud of. "I thought that movie was really so well done and really made a lot of people think about relationships and it was so smart," she says.

There's no doubt that the "Spider-Man" movies have put Kirsten Dunst in the position of choosing the parts that suit her best. And she's very clear about the scripts that inspire her."

She says, "That's always what you want, as an actor, to just be as truthful and honest. I know that sounds like 'actor talk' or something like that, but it's true. Yet, to have that freedom and not be thinking about anything but, what the other person is saying and responding to that - however you're feeling and having, be whatever you want. Instead of, so many scripts, it's, like: 'And then she cries.' And then, this. And you got to throw it all out. It's not like humans."

One script that Dunst will definitely say "yes" to is, "Spider-Man Three," set for release in 2007.

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