Kirsten Dunst had no desire to be America’s sweetheart or the female lead of “American Beauty.”

The “Bring It On” alum told Variety that she was approached to play the high school cheerleader who becomes the object of a suburban dad’s (Kevin Spacey) fantasies in Sam Mendes’ 1999 film. Now, 25 years later, Dunst is revealing why she didn’t even want to audition for the role.

“I don’t know if I necessarily turned it down,” Dunst said of the role, citing that it wasn’t outright offered. “I think I just turned down the meeting or something. But yeah, I just didn’t feel comfortable with the sexuality.”

Mena Suvari was instead cast in the role and the film went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Suvari said some of the movie’s sexuality opposite Spacey — or at least the preparation for those scenes — was “weird and unusual.”

Suvari told People magazine Spacey brought her into a side room where they “lay on the bed very close to one another. He was sort of gently holding me. It was very peaceful but weird and unusual.”

Spacey was arrested on multiple counts of sexual abuse in 2017. Spacey was acquitted on nine counts of sexual assault in London in 2023. Spacey is still facing additional charges in other courts.

Dunst didn’t dodge every bullet when it comes to Hollywood’s sexualization of young female stars. Even for the “Spider-Man” premiere in 2002, Dunst says Sony encouraged her to fix her smile — and questioned her outfit choice.

“I was like, ‘No, I like my teeth,’” Dunst recalled saying, despite her smile being digitally altered on the “Spider-Man” poster and marketing materials. After attending the film’s premiere, according to Dunst, “the studio was like, ‘She looks very goth’. And they didn’t like that, probably because they wanted me to look like a sexy young woman who would appeal to a broader range of whoever gets seats in the theater.”

She added, “I was never that girl. I never did it. I didn’t realize at the time. I realized it [later] in decisions I had made. Not to change teeth, not to blow up my lips, or whatever it is that everyone wants to look like. I still know to this day, I’m not gonna screw up my face and look like a freak. You know what I mean? I’d rather get old and do good roles.”

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