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Kirsten Dunst wants to do another Marvel movie: 'That'd pay for my kid's college!'

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Kirsten Dunst, star of ‘The Beguiled,’ talks about her Instagram moment with Britney Spears and more.
USA TODAY

NEW YORK — If Kirsten Dunst has one regret, it’s that she never cashed in on her “Spider-Man” fame. 

“I should’ve made some Kirsten perfumes – I’d be chilling right now,” jokes the actress, who co-starred with Tobey Maguire in Sam Raimi’s superhero trilogy (2002-07).

“Some, like Spider-Man perfume that shoots out of the wrist? I should’ve done a lot of things!”

It’s the sort of idea that’s just wacky enough to succeed, and one that surely would’ve seemed lucrative to Krystal Stubbs, Dunst’s enterprising character in Showtime’s “On Becoming a God in Central Florida,” premiering Sunday (10 EDT/PDT).

In the surreal ’90s-set dark comedy, she plays a minimum-wage water-park employee whose hapless husband (Alexander Skarsgard) dumps all their life savings into a cultish pyramid scheme called Founders American Merchandise (FAM). 

Saddled with a mortgage and baby to care for, Krystal transforms herself from a dowdy mom with braces into a scheming, spray-tanned businesswoman who cons her way up the ranks of FAM, an Amway-inspired “multi-level marketing”  company. 

Dunst, 37, was shooting 2016’s “Hidden Figures” when she first read Robert Funke and Matt Lutsky’s script, which “was perfectly wacky yet still grounded,” she says. “Krystal’s a very out-there character, but also one you don’t get to see often.”

Like Peggy, the disgruntled housewife and hairdresser she played in Season 2 of FX’s “Fargo,” Krystal is ever on the lookout for quick fix improvements to escape her dire situation. “But Krystal would think Peggy is a total nut job,” Dunst says. “She’d have nothing to do with her, but (would) still manipulate her into coming into this scheme, for sure.” 

Dunst started shooting “Florida” just five months after having her son Ennis, now 15 months old, with her “Fargo” co-star and fiance Jesse Plemons. That made the role’s unexpected physical demands even greater, including an intricately choreographed dance to Heart’s “Straight On” (originally set to feature a live snake, before Dunst nixed that idea and opted for puppets), and humorous scenes of Krystal teaching water aerobics, zestfully channeling her best Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons. 

“They had great bodies when they were doing it – I just had a kid and didn’t work out at all,” Dunst says with a grin. “I was like, ‘Here we go! Really putting it all out there!’ Me, Kirsten, personally didn’t want to be in a bathing suit dancing around, but Krystal had to.” 

Although she produced low-budget drama “Woodshock” in 2017, “Florida” marks Dunst’s most hands-on effort as an executive producer. She chose much of the show’s creative team and offered script input on sex scenes (“I’m always a prude when it comes to that stuff in film”) and screen time for Krystal’s baby (“I hate when TV shows and movies are like, ‘She’s a struggling single mom,’ and then it’s like, ‘So where the hell is your baby?'”). 

“In the very earliest formulations of the character, Krystal was this cold, blue-collar ‘American Psycho’-type,” says Lutsky, who developed the show for AMC and YouTube Premium before it was picked up by Showtime. “In Kirsten’s hands, there’s something in this character that any woman in this country is going to identify with. She wanted to drill down and find the vulnerability and humanity.”

But it may be some time before Dunst takes another behind-the-scenes role: She was attached to direct a film adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar,” but was unable to secure the rights and financing and has since exited the project. (It is still being developed as a limited series for Showtime with Dakota Fanning, according to Entertainment Weekly.) The New Jersey native – who broke out at age 11 in 1994’s “Interview with a Vampire,” and has won critical acclaim for collaborations with Sofia Coppola and Lars von Trier – says she’s not actively looking for another project to direct. 

“To direct a film takes what, three years of your life? Five if you write it? And I wouldn’t make any money directing,” Dunst says. “I just don’t have the brain capacity to involve myself in a project with a child this young. Maybe if he was in school, but not now. He’s too little.” 

That’s not to say she’s opposed to more acting jobs: Although she has no other projects lined up, she’s recently seen many of her most beloved films being remade or rebooted in Hollywood, which has her hankering to do another big movie. 

“‘Little Women,’ ‘Jumanji,’ ‘Spider-Man’: I was like, ‘I have good taste,'” Dunst deadpans. “I don’t watch superhero movies, but would I be in one again? Yes, they pay a lot of money, and I loved doing the ‘Spider-Mans.’ “

While Marvel hasn’t come knocking yet, she adds, “I would (do another one). Are you kidding me? That’d pay for my kid’s college, like that!” 

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