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Kirsten Dunst reveals filming the ‘Spider-Man’ upside-down kiss was ‘miserable’

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man has been dubbed by many as iconic for a lot of reasons. First, the film is an introduction to the “most relatable superhero.” Second, its visual effects, musical score, and entire production were groundbreaking and considered top-tier at the time. And lastly, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst delivered us the most iconic upside-down kiss in cinematic history.

The 2002 film saw Spider-Man, who was hanging upside down, and Mary Jane sharing a kiss in the rain after the former saved MJ from a couple of goons.

Image from IMDb
Image from IMDb

While the scene is romantic for a lot of people and got their spidey sense tingling, filming it, however, was not that pleasant at all for Dunst herself.

During her appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show, Dunst, who portrayed Mary Jane in Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, revealed that the scene was “miserable” to film.

“I remember [director] Sam Raimi giving me a book of famous kisses to be inspired, but also he really wanted to make it special, even though it was kind of miserable actually doing it,” the actress reflected. “It was pouring with rain, freezing, Tobey couldn’t breathe so it was almost like I was resuscitating him.”

This wasn’t the first time that the upside-down kiss was described as one of the most unpleasant scenes to shoot. In fact, Spider-Man actor Tobey Maguire also shared how uncomfortable and challenging the experience was.

“There was rain pouring down my nose… and then Kirsten pulled the mask up to [my nose] and it’s blocking the air passage there, so I couldn’t breathe,” Maguire said in an interview in 2020 during the celebration of the film’s 20th anniversary. “And then she’s kissing me, blocking the air passage there, so there’s nowhere else to breathe.”

“It was really tough, actually. It was really challenging. They’d yell cut, and I would be [gasping for air], totally out of breath. It was torture. It makes you realize how important oxygen is,” he added.

Despite the challenge surrounding the scene, Dunst expressed how proud she was to be part of the iconic kissing scene considering it is now included in “every montage of famous kisses.”

“I did not feel like it was a famous kiss,” Dunst told W Magazine in 2022. “But the way it was presented to me […] that made me realize how romantic and special Sam wanted this to be.”

“I’m proud to be a part of that… It looked like a great kiss,” she added.

Raimi, on the other hand, expressed his satisfaction with how the scene turned out.

“I just wanted to let her know that this was a very special moment for the movie.. I just wanted to gear her up, to let her know that she’s going to be great in this, and that I wanted some of her Kirsten Dunst magic in that moment,” the director said in a previous interview with Rolling Stone.

“I think, once we had that meeting, she turned her head around to it and put on her performance magic, which Tobey did, too. They really made something special,” Raimi added.

Released in 2002, Spider-Man follows the story of Peter Parker, a shy teenager who gains spider-like abilities after being bitten by a genetically altered spider. He then embarks on a mission to fight crime and injustice in New York City while facing a supervillain whose goals are murderous.


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