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All Good Things – Kirsten Dunst on making sure she wasn’t a victim throughout the film

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All Good Things - Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst
All Good Things - David Marks (Ryan Gosling) and Katie Marks (Kirsten Dunst) © 2010 Magnolia Pictures

Inspired by the most notorious missing person’s case in New York history, All Good Things is a love story and murder mystery set against the backdrop of a New York real estate dynasty in the 1980s. Andrew Jarecki’s film is based on the story of Robert Durst, who was suspected but never tried for killing his wife Kathie, who disappeared in 1982 and was never found.

Because Jarecki wanted to be free to explore all the possibilities of the case, he changed the names of the characters to Kathie and David Marks. Kathie is played by Kirsten Dunst, and David by Ryan Gosling, at his creepy best.

I spoke with Kirsten about this haunting role, meeting Kathie Durst’s family and if she believed Kathie was murdered by her husband.

When you do a movie like this do you try not to have an opinion whether he did it or not?

All Good Things - Kirsten Dunst
Katie Marks (Kirsten Dunst) © 2010 Magnolia Pictures

I went into it feeling like I wanted to make sure I wasn’t a victim throughout the film. At the end of the film when I go back into the house Andrew didn’t want me to bring in the shovel, but I said, ‘I have to bring in the shovel, I have to go in there like I’m going to kill him.’ That’s how I wanted it to be.

I don’t know what really happened, but yes I think he probably killed his wife, otherwise (his) family would have helped find her. A big corporation with all this money that won’t help her family whatsoever; she was their daughter-in-law, why wouldn’t they help find her?

Did you know this story?

I didn’t it know it. Part of the reason I think not a lot of people know about it is because it got shoved under the rug. In terms of research, Andrew did a documentary about everything that happens before. So I saw that a year before we even made the film. He had gone and researched and interviewed anyone who was willing to talk about what had happened.

What did her family say to you?

All Good Things - Kirsten Dunst
Katie Marks (Kirsten Dunst) © 2010 Magnolia Pictures

It’s hard, they’ve lost their family member and they never had the satisfaction of knowing anything. I think that they were relieved; there must be some closure somehow to know that her story is getting out there again. I don’t know if the case could be reopened, I don’t know what could happen, but I know they were happy with me playing her, and I just listened to them. They’re the ones this tragedy happened to, so I didn’t ask too many questions.

Please tell me that between takes Ryan got out of character because he was scary in this?

I was also in my own world; it was just the world we lived in. The only time where I could see it was really bothering him is the scene where he rips me out of my mother’s house by my hair. We had a stunt guy there who kept saying, ‘Get her by the roots, then it doesn’t hurt as much.’ It didn’t hurt me, but it got him so upset he sent me flowers the next day. It was very hard for him.

You and Ryan have so many different kinds of scenes together in this, romantic, horror, violent, how long did take you both to find the right chemistry together?

All Good Things - Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst
David Marks (Ryan Gosling) and Katie Marks (Kirsten Dunst) © 2010 Magnolia Pictures

We had eight weeks of rehearsal, but all we did was talk and talk. We had separate sessions with Andrew and talked about these people, talked about their perspectives in the film, talked how we could do this differently, because with different people it could definitely be a little cliché.

But Ryan and I are pretty immersed when we’re working and not afraid to improvise together. We knew the people we were playing, so nothing ever felt phony or forced in any way. Our relationship really made both these people humans, so it wasn’t like he’s a beast and what is she doing with him?

How did you feel about their changing the direction of the Spider-Man franchise?

All Good Things - Kirsten Dunst
Katie Marks (Kirsten Dunst) © 2010 Magnolia Pictures

I felt like what we had during those films was so special for me, Tobey and Sam. It was such a unique experience because it was these independent minds, but we were making this huge film. To be a part of a movie like this is very special, especially a good franchise. So to end on three I think is a perfect way to leave it.

You got close to doing a fourth movie.

Yeah, but also I feel like it was time and sometimes they want to push things for money and I think it just didn’t come together the way they probably had wanted or envisioned. I like Andrew Garfield so much as an actor, and Emma Stone, so I think they’ll be great in the new version.

Will you check it out when it opens?

Of course I’m going to see the movie!