TV & Movies

Kirsten Dunst Explained Why The Iconic Spider-Man Kiss Was Not Actually Sexy

But she feels “lucky” that people remember it.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 26: Kirsten Dunst attends a Special Screening of "Civil War" at The Cinema I...
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The Spider-Verse has replaced its movie hero and leading lady twice since Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst starred in 2002’s Spider-Man, and still they get asked about their iconic upside-down kiss in the rain. It’s perhaps the most memorable scene from the Sam Rami-directed trilogy and it makes regular appearances on best movie kiss lists. But the reality of filming it doesn’t match up with how it looks on screen to viewers.

“Kind Of Miserable”

Dunst was a guest on The Jonathan Ross Show on March 30, and Ross couldn’t resist asking her about the rain-soaked kiss. She recalled how Raimi gave her “a book of famous kisses” as inspiration but also “really wanted to make it special.” Unfortunately for her and Maguire, the elements that made the kiss so memorable also made it “kind of miserable” for them.

“It was pouring rain, freezing, Tobey couldn’t breathe, so it was almost like I was resuscitating him,” Dunst said.

The fact that the kiss is still beloved by audiences seems to be a silver lining for Dunst. She said she feels “lucky” that it has become a classic movie moment, adding, “It’s cool to be a part of things like that.”

Awkwardness For Two

Because the smooch is so famous, both Dunst and Maguire have faced questions about it many times over the years. They’re in agreement that it wasn’t a comfortable kiss. In fact, Maguire described it in very non-romantic terms during a BBC interview in April 2002: “interesting” and “challenging.”

“I was hanging upside down, it was five in the morning roughly, there was rain pouring up or down my nose,” he added. “I couldn’t breathe and I was gasping for breath out of the corner of Kirsten’s mouth — poor girl.”

Maguire also described it as “giving her mouth to mouth” more than kissing. Even so, he admitted to “sneaking some pleasure out of it.“ Unfortunately for him, Dunst called it “one of the most unromantic kisses” while speaking to CNN in May 2002.

Making Movie History

Doug Lefler, who worked as Spider-Man’s second-unit director and storyboard artist, explained why they chose to make the kiss so complicated in a Ringer interview in May 2022. “It seemed like an opportunity to do something that was visually strong but belonged to this story,” he said. “It was very much a Spider-Man thing to hang upside down.”

And the scene had the desired effect. “It has an emotional connection to the audience that we always strive for,” cinematographer Don Burgess shared with the outlet. “Sometimes, it becomes bigger than all of us.”

So much so that the actors may never stop getting asked about it.