Kirsten Dunst 'Burst Into Tears' When Cailee Spaeny Was Cast in Sofia Coppola's “Priscilla” (Exclusive)

Kirsten Dunst personally recommended Sofia Coppola cast her 'Civil War' costar Cailee Spaeny in Coppola's most recent movie

<p>Gilbert Flores/SXSW Conference & Festivals via Getty; Diego Donamaria/SXSW Conference & Festivals via Getty; Matthias Nareyek/Getty</p> Kirsten Dunst, Cailee Spaeny and Sofia Coppola

Gilbert Flores/SXSW Conference & Festivals via Getty; Diego Donamaria/SXSW Conference & Festivals via Getty; Matthias Nareyek/Getty

Kirsten Dunst, Cailee Spaeny and Sofia Coppola

Cailee Spaeny is sharing how Kirsten Dunst cheered her on when she landed her role as Priscilla Presley in last year's Priscilla.

At the SXSW world premiere of Spaeny and Dunst's new movie Civil War Thursday, Spaeny, 25, tells PEOPLE that she secured the lead part in filmmaker Sofia Coppola's most recent movie on the last day she and Dunst, 41, filmed Civil War together.

"So I got to tell her that I got the role and she burst into tears and gave me a massive hug. It was a really special, magical, kismet moment," Spaeny, who described Dunst as a mentor on the Civil War set, says.

Dunst, well known for her collaborations with Coppola, 52, on movies like The Virgin Suicides (1999), Marie Antoinette (2006) and The Beguiled (2017), adds that "of course" she remembers when Spaeny told her Coppola cast her in Priscilla.

"I cried because I was also encouraging Sofia, because I was working with Cailee and I said, 'I loved working with her,' and I knew they would work well together," she says. "So I was a supportive friend." 

Related: Kirsten Dunst Documents a Divided America — Under a President Nick Offerman — in Shocking Civil War Trailer

<p>Rick Kern/WireImage</p> Kirsten Dunst and Cailee Spaeny

Rick Kern/WireImage

Kirsten Dunst and Cailee Spaeny

Spaeny costarred with Jacob Elordi in Priscilla, which follows the famous relationship and marriage between Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley and is based on the real-life Priscilla's 1985 memoir Elvis and Me. Priscilla and Elvis, who Elordi portrays in the film, first met in 1959 and divorced in 1972.

Priscilla marked a major breakthrough role for Spaeny, who is only six years removed from her first feature-length onscreen credits for appearances in the 2018 movies Pacific Rim: Uprising, Bad Times at the El Royale, On the Basis of Sex and Vice.

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When Coppola was promoting Priscilla back in September, she shared with W Magazine that Dunst personally brought Spaeny to her attention as a potential candidate to play Priscilla. "Kirsten is like a sister to me, and when she recommended Cailee, I paid attention,” she told the outlet at the time, noting that she then offered Spaeny the role after a breakfast meeting in New York City.

Related: Cailee Spaeny Says Priscilla Presley's Reaction to Her Portrayal Is 'Best Review I Could Get' (Exclusive)

<p>A24</p> Civil War


Civil War

In Civil War, the latest movie from filmmaker Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation), Dunst and Spaeny play two photojournalists documenting a horrifying civil war playing out within the United States. Wagner Moura and Stephen McKinley Henderson also play journalists in the upcoming movie, which also stars Dunst's husband Jesse Plemons.

On the red carpet, Spaeny tells PEOPLE that she, Dunst, Moura and McKinley Henderson "got incredibly close because we were in a car really the whole entire film."

"So it's us four actors and we really had to lean on each other," she says. "We shot it chronologically so that bond that I have with the actors was real. We shot in real time."

Priscilla is streaming on Max now, while Civil War releases in theaters April 12.

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