By Amy Longsdorf
Updated June 15, 2004 04:00 PM

Watch out, tiger: Kirsten Dunst is back onscreen as Peter Parker’s perky love interest in Spider-Man 2, the sequel to 2002’s biggest hit. And while the 22-year-old actress reprises her role as red-headed Mary Jane Watson opposite Tobey Maguire, she’s become just as well known off-screen for her romance with another hot young actor – Jake Gyllenhaal, 23. Dunst recently talked about the blockbuster sequel, her life with Jake, and the time her boyfriend almost took over the role of Spidey.

Has your life has changed much since the first Spider-Man?
I mean, definitely. More people recognize me. I live in L.A., where everybody’s too cool to come up to you – they talk about you behind your back and gossip about you. But when I go to other places I realize that people know who I am because they’re the ones who want autographs, want to take pictures.

You also have the paparazzi following you and Jake.
Yeah, the paparazzi follow us everywhere in L.A. It’s really sickening, actually. (We’re) in the grocery store and we don’t do anything interesting, so it’s really obnoxious.

How do you deal with it?
You know, if you get mad they just like it even more, so I just ignore them. But we were at the dog park one day and we bought eggs and everybody at the dog park was throwing eggs at the paparazzi. That was our Easter, so it was perfect.

What did you think of Jake’s recent spread in GQ?
I thought the cover was really cute. I didn’t like the clothes they put him in though.

There was a point when it seemed Jake was going to replace Tobey in Spider-Man 2. What was that like?
That was really a complicated time, of course. And I’m just so thankful that Tobey ended up doing the movie because he is Spider-Man and I think it wouldn’t have been good. I think Jake can do any movie because I think he’s one of the best young actors. But Tobey is Spider-Man, and so I’m just happy that it all worked out.

Would it be weird to work with your boyfriend?
Of course, yeah. I mean, I would like to work with him, but I’m happy it wasn’t this, because I would rather do a more intimate movie with him where I could actually have many scenes with him. I think we probably could do a small movie together.

Would you be worried about the Gigli jinx?
I wouldn’t be nervous about it. We’re in, like, every magazine together basically because he has a movie out and I do … so I don’t think it’s really a problem.

So what’s the next film you’re working on?

I’m doing this movie with Cameron Crowe next, called Elizabethtown. It’s going really great.

What’s it about?
It’s a hard movie to talk about because we just started, and Cameron’s very private, and I just know that to respect him I’m not really going to talk about it yet.

Okay, is it a drama or comedy?
It’s not a drama. It’s not a romantic comedy. It’s just life, kind of. I don’t know how to really say it, but you know Cameron’s movies. It’s like Say Anything, it’s just more about people.

What about your dream directors: Have you talked with director Pedro Almodévar about doing a movie with him?
No, I haven’t. But I’d love to work with him.

It’s been reported that you’d be willing to do nude scenes.
For him? Yeah, I would. He would be so tasteful. I just love Talk to Her, and I just thought it was beautiful.

Back to Spider-Man. You’re signed on to play Mary Jane through the third movie. Do you think you’d like to keep going after that?
Three’s enough. I think, don’t wear out a good thing too much.