Where Has Kirsten Dunst Been?S

In rehab, for starters. And then New York. And now, back in the saddle with Ryan Gosling.

You'll recall that Kirsten Dunst went into rehab a couple of years ago, post-Marie Antoinette. And we all kind of thought Really? Well, I guess at the end of the day she's had the pressures of a child star. Of course, it was more complicated than that. Says New York Magazine,

As soon as Kirsten Dunst checked out of Cirque Lodge rehab in Utah in March 2008, she moved out of her place in the Hollywood Hills, a three-bedroom house with massive entry gates to keep out intruders. She had bought it with the money from the first Spider-Man movie, only to spend the next few years growing increasingly isolated-Norma Desmond by the age of 25.

Why? Depression, mostly — it's what she says took her to Cirque Lodge (rather than substance abuse). As she tells New York, "If you're successful at a young age, no matter the profession, there has to come a time when you reevaluate everything, what it means to you. Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life?" She adds, "You grow up in a business where there's a lot of people-pleasing. It's hard to be firm in your own ground and not be afraid to rock the boat. I was swallowing a lot of stuff … In my relationships and personal life I absorbed things from other people, and then because of what I do for a living, I had to keep giving. It can dissolve you."

Not to mention bikini fare like Get Over It (she mentions playing "the cute girl" or on the outside of "a boy's club")— or the shellacking the actress took after the extended, pretty music video that was Marie Antoinette. Now, after that hiatus (like, a decade in Hollywood time) Kiki's back to making serious films with von Trier, Juan Diego Solanas and, most recently, Ryan Gosling, in the upcoming All Good Things. Gosling, always ready to provide an inscrutable soundbite on a costar, declares, obscurely, "You weren't watching somebody who was unlocking something in themselves, and then because they'd finally exposed it maybe they could retire. You felt like you were watching somebody unlock something, and now that it had been exposed they could get started." Which we take as a compliment on her performance as a doomed wife, which is apparently generating buzz (according to the film's director).

Macking with Gosling and living in Silver Lake with Rilo Kiley drummer Jason Boesel may sound less than tragic. And, sure, it is. But think about it: the woman has been acting since she was three years old. That level of sustained pressure's almost unimaginable — and you don't have to look far to find genuinely tragic casualties of the same pressures. Gosling states that Dunst "definitely OD'd on Hollywood," but in case her return to film wasn't proof enough, a quote she gave Fox is a reassuring sign that she's safely back in the Hollywood saddle. "I don't have a goal for the next ten years, except I want to have kids...[And ]I would like to direct."

Beyond Cute [New York]
Kirsten Dunst Admits To Forgetting Filming Racy Scene With Ryan Gosling [Fox]