After the birth of her son Ennis, 1, whom she shares with fiance Jesse Plemons, actress Kirsten Dunst wondered if she would ever be able to go back to work again. Fortunately, a project that came her way made her realize she could handle much more than she thought as a new working mom.
In an interview with Glamour, Kirsten discussed portraying working mother Krystal Stubbs on Showtime’s campy new series, On Becoming a God in Central Florida, as she navigates her own first-time parenting experience.
“I was like, ‘I don’t even have time to take showers anymore, so how am I going to function on a set?’” she told Glamour.
Kirsten and Krystal might both be working moms, but the parallels between the women taper off there. Krystal holds a day job at a waterpark—and is involved in a messy pyramid scheme. Kirsten, obviously, is a successful actress.
Kirsten worried about being able to film without her baby. “I was like, ‘There’s no way I can go do a TV show,'” she said. “‘How can I do anything else but be a mom?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore.’”
Ultimately, the role on the show, which premiered August 25, was too good to pass up, and Kirsten’s parenting experience made her even more dedicated to showing an authentic representation of working motherhood. Kirsten’s character Krystal and her husband both work 9-to-5s on the show, so Kirsten knew how important it was to show Krystal with her baby as often as possible. “Unless the next-door neighbor is watching her or she gets some kind of help, Krystal would always have a baby with her,” Kirsten said. Krystal’s husband Travis (Alexander Skarsgård) sells insurance all day, and is deeply involved in the same multilevel marketing scheme Krystal gets caught up in at night. “That’s just her reality, and she’s doing everything she can to survive.” To best represent Krystal’s life more realistically, when a baby wasn’t available for late-night shoots, Kirsten improvised with a doll or a strategically wrapped stroller.
Although Kirsten understood the fatigue and long hours in Krystal’s life, unlike her character, the actress has a strong support system. During filming, Kirsten relied on family, particularly her mother-in-law-to-be, close friends and production staff, to lend a hand with childcare. She says it was “scary” to think of returning to work after the baby was born, but that “people step in and help you. It’s just so important to ask for that help.”