Kirsten Dunst Says Pay Gap Between Her and 'Spider-Man' Costar Tobey Maguire Was 'Extreme'

"I didn't even think about it. I was just like, 'Oh yeah, Tobey [Maguire] is playing Spider-Man,' " Kirsten Dunst said

Kirsten Dunst attends Netflix's "Power of the Dog" premiere during the 59th New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall on October 1, 2021 in New York City.
Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty

Kirsten Dunst says she and her Spider-Man costar Tobey Maguire were not paid equally for the 2002 superhero movie.

Dunst, 39, starred as Mary Jane Watson alongside Maguire, 46, who played Peter Parker and the titular superhero. Spider-Man marked her first role in a major superhero franchise, but the actress revealed to The Independent that she and Maguire had a sharp divide in compensation for their work on the film.

Both Columbia Pictures and Marvel Enterprises did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

"The pay disparity between me and Spider-Man was very extreme," she said. "I didn't even think about it. I was just like, 'Oh yeah, Tobey [Maguire] is playing Spider-Man.' "

Kirsten Dunst, Tobey Maguire Spiderman 3
Marvel/Sony Pictures/Kobal/Shutterstock

The first Spider-Man film pulled in $821 million and its sequel, 2004's Spider-Man 2, brought in $789 million, according to The Independent. While the movies were a hit at the box office, Dunst said she did not receive the same pay as Maguire, despite being equally promoted for the film.

"But you know who was on the cover of the second Spider-Man poster? Spider-Man and ME," she told The Independent.

After the first two Spider-Man films, Dunst went on to star in the third installment in the franchise, which marked her last appearance as MJ in 2007. While it's been over a decade since she played the character, Dunst said she's open to reprising her role.

"I would do it. Why not? That would be fun," she told Variety. "I would never say no to something like that … I'd be old MJ at this point with little Spidey babies."

Kirsten Dunst, Tobey Maguire Spiderman 2
Marvel/Sony Pictures/Kobal/Shutterstock

Since her turn in Spider-Man, Dunst has been keeping busy with plenty of exciting projects, including Melancholia, The Beguiled and On Becoming a God in Central Florida.

After Reuters sent out a tweet in 2019 that described her as "best known for her role as Spiderman's girlfriend," Dunst hit back while appearing on The Talk.

"I don't really look at Twitter and stuff, I'm not really a social media girl," she said at the time. "But I was looking for the show and everything. I read it too and I was just like, 'Yeah, that's pretty s—y.' You know what I mean?"

She added, "I was proud that my fans and everyone rallied around and supported me. It was a very ignorant tweet and it was done probably very carelessly by a man."

Next up, Dunst is set to star in The Power of the Dog, a Jane Campion film premiering on Netflix Nov. 17.

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