In director Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, Kristen Dunst says she’s happy with her iconic upside-down kiss with Tobey Maguire. From 2002 until 2007, Dunst played Mary Jane, Peter Parker’s love interest, in all installments of Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy.
Sony has reinvented the live-action franchise twice since Spider-Man 3. In 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield’s web-slinger fell in love with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacey, and in the sequel, Tom Holland befriended Zendaya’s MJ.
While the latter two characters’ relationships have been compared to Maguire and Dunst’s, no moment will likely ever compare to the legendary smooch from the first film.
Spiderman’s iconic Upside-Down Kiss
The upside-down kiss is easily the most iconic scene in the original Spider-Man, for a variety of reasons, including the fact that Maguire nearly drowned while filming it. After saving her from a group of muggers, Dunst’s MJ rips down Maguire’s Spider-mask Man’s and kisses him in the dark as he hangs upside down. Spider-kiss Man’s is now considered one of the greatest on-screen kisses of all time.
It’s been mentioned in everything from The O.C. to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse because it’s become inextricably linked to Spider-Man, superhero cinema, and pop culture. Holland has also stated that the kiss is the one former Spider-Man scene that he would like to recreate.
Dunst discussed the legacy of her 20-year-old kissing scene with Maguire in Spider-Man in a recent interview with W Magazine. While filming it, the actress admitted that she didn’t feel like it was a renowned nighttime kiss, especially because water kept getting up Maguire’s nose, making it difficult to breathe. Nonetheless, she is proud to have been a part of it in retrospect.
Here’s what Dunst had to say:
“But the way it was presented to me, [Sam Raimi] gave me this book of famous kisses, so that made me realize how romantic and special Sam wanted this to be … Even though it wasn’t necessarily feeling that way with Tobey hanging upside down … I’m proud to be a part of that. It looked like a great kiss.”
Dunst went on to claim that joining Raimi’s first Marvel film was “not at all” a difficult decision and that she “just felt Sam was going to make something special” – from his indie/cult film background to casting Maguire and Willem Dafoe. The impact of Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy on the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be understated.