'It Was Almost Like I Was Resuscitating Him': Kirsten Dunst Gets Honest About Kissing Tobey Maguire Upside Down In Iconic Spider-Man Scene, And Yikes

 Spider-Man and MJ kissing in the rain after saving her from some thugs.
Spider-Man and MJ kissing in the rain after saving her from some thugs.

In Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire performed an unforgettable movie lip-lock that took place after the titular hero saved Mary Jane Watson in a band of thugs in an alleyway. While Maguire's Spidey is hanging upside down, MJ removed his mask halfway to give him a “thank you” kiss in the pouring rain. I love to watch romantic kisses in the rain as much as the next person, and this scene is great. Interestingly though, Dunst just got real about what filming that scene was really like, and yikes!

Kirsten Dunst has had some notable on-screen kisses throughout her career. For instance, she had to lock lips with Brad Pitt in Interview with a Vampire as an 11-year-old, and Dunst found that to be “gross.” Filming the infamous Spider-Man kiss much later was uncomfortable for her as well, it seems.That scene in one of the highest-grossing ‘00s movies, which is still referenced today, was apparently challenging for a few reasons. The Civil War actress shared on The Jonathan Ross Show (via The Independent) that partaking in the memorable scene was a “miserable” experience due to the rain, and she mentioned what it was like for her co-star as well:

I remember [the film’s 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. It was pouring with rain, freezing, Tobey couldn’t breathe so it was almost like I was resuscitating him.

Needless to say, that doesn't sound fun, and I can certainly understand why the Oscar nominee didn't have the best time shooting that. I can't even imagine wearing a costume like hers in the cold and being drenched by precipitation. As for Tobey Maguire not being able to breathe well in that scene, I can understand that, as the film’s lead had to perform some lip action while hanging upside down with rain pouring down. I guess, considering all of that, it was a good thing his co-star was there to "resuscitate" him.

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On a side note, with that behind-the-scenes Spider-Man fact regarding the “book of famous kisses,” I’m really curious about which ones the actress looked over. It's not all that surprising that director Sam Raimi would want such care taking with that kiss. We've also learned that Raimi helped Kirsten Dunst prepare by reminding her to put some of her “Kirsten Dunst magic,” as he calls it, into his movie to help make that kiss a memorable moment. I believe one of the most beautiful elements of the upside-down smooch is that it feels earned and is not superfluous. It also sums up the feelings the two characters have for each other at that point. Considering people still talk about it positively, I'd say that Dunst, Raimi and co. pulled it off well.

So, even if we don’t see Kirsten Dunst do any more upside kisses with Tobey Maguire, could we ever see them share the screen again as Spider-Man and Mary Jane? A few years ago, the Bring It On actress said she could see herself playing MJ again. While sharing a funny take on joining the MCU, Dunst joked that she’d love to join the franchise, because it would pay for her house and kids. Considering Marvel has made $1 billion-earning flicks, I’d say a huge paycheck could certainly be a possibility if she were to sign on. Also, Maguire’s Peter did say in No Way Home that he and his MJ are still together, so I'm hopeful these two will appear on screen again.

It does stink that the romantic on-screen kiss Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire shared in the 2002 blockbuster was "miserable" to film. And, quite frankly, I wouldn't wish that experience on any actors. However, I suppose if it's any consolation, the two stars can take heart knowing that their efforts weren't in vain.

Feel free to relive that romantic moment, as Spider-Man is available to stream with a Disney+ subscription. The flick, along with other Spidey films, will also be re-released in theaters amid the 2024 movie schedule.