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Although Gerard Butler probably could have skipped Dracula 2000 on his way to stardom, both Kristen Stewart, 22 (who has The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2 opening Nov. 16), and Kirsten Dunst, 30, found the dark, brooding tone of a vampire movie a wonderful way to launch a career. In Dunst's case, she had the good fortune at age 12 to play Interview With the Vampire's precociously creepy 6-year-old vampire-ette Claudia, who had been that way for 200 years. "A salaciously delightful entertainment, drenched in musty atmospherics and bedecked with perversely appealing comedy," is the way The Hollywood Reporter described the 1994 film. Producer Stephen Woolley said the idea of casting an actual 6-year-old never was considered. Dunst was chosen because she had "a mind capable of grasping the fine points of the difficult monologues Claudia has." Dunst starred opposite Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, whom she kisses in the film, an experience she described at the time as "gross 'cause his lips were so dry." Perhaps because she made it appear more pleasant onscreen, the Hollywood Foreign Press gave her a Golden Globe supporting actress nomination and MTV said hers was the year's Breakthrough Performance. Although not in the same box-office league as Stewart's Twilight, which has gone on to become a billion-dollar franchise, Vampire grossed more than $220 million worldwide and was the year's ninth-highest-grossing film.
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