An ordinary, basically good person is forced into something they find morally reprehensible to save their family from the looming threat of poverty… and discovers they’re really, terribly good at it.
Becoming a God in Central Florida
Sound familiar? No, we’re not talking about Walter White. We’re talking about Kirsten Dunst’s character, Krystal Stubbs, in On Becoming a God in Central Florida, described by The Hollywood Reporter as “Breaking Bad for pyramid schemes.”
Now available to binge on Showmax, On Becoming a God in Central Florida earned the Fargo and Spider-Man star 2020 Best Actress nominations at both the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice awards. She plays a minimum-wage water park employee who sets out to infiltrate and bring down the cultish, multibillion-dollar pyramid scheme that drove her family to ruin…
“On Becoming a God in Central Florida is about the falsehood of the American dream and making money and having that be the end-all, be-all,” says Kirsten. To quote Indiewire, it’s “a clever, compelling, and thorough evisceration of American capitalism.”
“When you first meet Krystal, it’s 1992, just outside of Orlando,” says Kirsten, who is also an exec producer on the series, alongside Oscar-winning collaborators George Clooney and Grant Heslov (Argo, Catch-22). “She’s juggling being a new mom and working and having a husband [Golden Globe nominee Alexander Skarsgård from Big Little Lies and True Blood] who’s a little obsessed with this multi-level marketing scheme. There were so many promises of money coming in, and then Krystal starts to realise nothing’s coming to fruition. It forces her into playing the game that she never wanted to play, and then, when she starts to get good at it, she realises that she can use this to her advantage.”
On Becoming a God in Central Florida has an 85% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus calls it, “a clever and absurd satire that will make you want to buy whatever Kirsten Dunst is selling.”
The series made 2019 critics’ Top 10 lists everywhere from Los Angeles Times to Variety. Listing it among the 6 Best New Shows of Summer 2019, Time Magazine said, “Dunst’s character… is one of a kind—a protagonist whose superpower is getting what she needs by intuiting what the people around her want most. It’s breathtaking, watching one extraordinary woman embody another.”
The show boasts a formidable support cast, including Oscar winner Mary Steenburgen (The Help, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist), Oscar nominee David Paymer (Get Shorty, Mr. Saturday Night), Screen Actors Guild nominee Ted Levine (Monk, The Silence of the Lambs), Saturn Award winner Julie Benz (Dexter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Gossip singer Beth Ditto.
‘A fearless woman doing whatever it takes to succeed…’
Kirsten describes her character as a fearless woman doing whatever it takes to succeed. “She’s a savvy businesswoman, with big ideas,” says Kirsten, who gave birth to her son, Ennis (with her Fargo co-star Jesse Plemons), just five months before filming began. “She stops at nothing to provide for her family. She doesn’t take no for an answer, she’s not afraid to get dirty to get to the truth, and she’s unafraid to take life by the reins… I just get to do so much crazy stuff in this show.”
She’s not exaggerating. As The Atlantic says, this “pitch-black comedy about desperation, anxiety, and self-delusion is not afraid to be deeply weird.”
Krystal’s baby, Destinee, is not played by Kirsten’s son, but Ennis does make a couple of undisclosed cameos. Kirsten told Vogue parenthood shifted something for her. “There’s a sense of freedom post having a kid… For me something inside just freed up, and you don’t care. I’ll do anything or go anywhere.”
That freedom helped Kirsten create one of her least glamorous, most unflattering characters yet. “I put in everything I had,” Dunst told IndieWire. “You want to see actors show all the ugliness and everything that they have inside of them. That’s what makes a character you want to watch and fight for.”
Rolling Stone calls the result “one of the best performances Dunst’s ever given,” while Wall Street Journal praises her “life-giving performance full of heart and, possibly more important, steel,” adding, “The show is all hers.”
Read the original article on The South African