Civil War star Kirsten Dunst says director Alex Garland is a risk-taking "auteur" – even though he "hates" the word

Kirsten Dunst in Civil War
(Image credit: A24)

Civil War, the latest movie from Ex Machina and Annihilation writer-director Alex Garland, sees Kirsten Dunst play war photographer Lee, who's on a journey across the war-torn and not-so-United States to document the conflict as it reaches a fever pitch. 

Her co-stars Cailee Spaeny and Stephen McKinley Henderson had worked with Garland before, on FX series Devs, but what made Dunst want to work with the filmmaker for the first time? 

"It wasn't only his movies, it was his writing. I've read scripts of his that he didn't direct that I was like, 'Wow.' He's just very, very, very brilliant and really makes films that are unique to anyone else," Dunst tells GamesRadar+ and Inside Total Film. "He hates the word 'auteur', but that's what you call someone who has their canon of films that are unlike anyone else's. I love to work with people like that, because I know their risk is to make something unique and do something different."

Garland is also full of praise for Dunst, telling us why she made the perfect lead in his movie – and part of it was her history as a child actor in films like Interview With the Vampire and Little Women. "Because a lot of people have, in a way, grown up with her because she started so young when she was a child actor, we know she has a lot of lived experience, and that arrives with her into the film," he explains. 

"And there's something else she does, which is she was playing a photographer, and I noticed something about her which is, she wears it lightly, but she's very observant. She watches in a certain kind of way. And I felt that was like a photographer to be both in and not in the room at the same time." 

Civil War is released in cinemas on April 12. For more on the movie, here's why Garland doesn't see his film as an inherently American story and why Dunst thinks it shares similarities with Paris, Texas.

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.