Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a term coined by AV Club writer Nathan Rabin after watching Kirsten Dunst's performance in the 2005 Cameron Crowe film 'Elizabethtown.' Rabin describes the Manic Pixie Dream Girl as a, "cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures." The term has now grown to encompass performances as iconic as Holly Golightly in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' to more recent performances like Zooey Deschanel's turn as Summer Finn in '(500) Days of Summer.' I spoke to Dunst just this afternoon about her award-winning role in 'Melancholia,' and when I asked her to comment on the phenomenon of MPDGs, I assumed she knew the term. Alas, she did not. The end result was myself awkwardly trying to explain to Kirsten Dunst the definition of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl -- something I did extremely poorly.
What's your opinion of the term Manic Pixie Dream Girl?
What is that?
Oh... it was coined for your character in 'Elizabethtown.'
It kind of means...
That's so weird. What's it called? The Manic Pixie...
Manic Pixie Dream Girl. I guess it means that there's a dream girl who is also manic. And pixie-ish... and I think...
I don't find I'm manic at all. I'm very chill.
Well, yeah, in person. I think they mean your character.
Oh, in 'Elizabethtown'?
But I feel that all of Cameron's girls are quirky with a sparkle. You know what I mean? Like, they are always kind of, you know... talk too much. You know what I mean?
Holly Golightly is a good example.
Yeah, You're right. Yeah.
What do you think of that term?
I don't like it, to be honest.
No, I don't. I think it's weird sounding. [The publicist walks in to signify that our time is up] So, on that note...
[Photo: Everett Collection]
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RELATED: MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRLS
- A is for Audrey Hepburn in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'
- B is for 'Breathless,' with Jean Seberg
- C is for Claudette Colbert in 'The Palm Beach Story'
- D is for Kirsten Dunst in 'Elizabethtown'
- E is for 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' with Kate Winslet
- F is for 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' with Mila Kunis
- G is for Geena Davis in 'The Accidental Tourist'
- H is for Kate Hudson in 'Almost Famous'
- I is for 'It's Kind of a Funny Story' with Emma Roberts
- J is for Jeanne Moreau in 'Jules and Jim'
- K is for Anna Karina in 'A Woman Is a Woman'
- L is for Liza Minelli in 'Arthur'
- M is for Melanie Griffith in 'Something Wild'
- N is for Natalie Portman in 'Garden State'
- O is for 'One Crazy Summer' with Demi Moore
- P is for Sarah Jessica Parker in 'LA Story'
- Q is for Jackie Q., Rose Byrne's character in 'Get Him to the Greek'
- R is for Julia Roberts in 'Pretty Woman'
- S is for Sienna Miller in 'Factory Girl'
- T is for Toronto (the setting of 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World')
- U is for Uma Thurman in 'Pulp Fiction'
- V is for 'Vivacious Lady' with Ginger Rogers
- W is for 'What's Up, Doc?' with Barbra Streisand
- X is for X-rated Elisha Cuthbert in 'The Girl Next Door'
- Y is for 'You Can't Take It With You' with Jean Arthur
- Z is for Zooey Deschanel in '(500) Days of Summer'