Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Kirsten Dunst to direct Dakota Fanning in cinema adaptation of The Bell Jar

rexfeatures_5689844fi.jpg

Kirsten Dunst may be famed for her talents in front of the camera, but the award-winning actress is set to take a seat in the director’s chair for her next big film project.

That’s right; the Melancholia star is set to bring Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, to life on the big screen.

The powerful novel follows a pessimistic young woman named Esther Greenwood, who becomes disillusioned with her life after taking on a magazine internship in New York. Bored with the society girls around her, Esther soon finds herself feeling frightened by her experiences – and slowly descends into a deep depression.

One month after the book’s publication in 1963, Sylvia tragically committed suicide.

The novel - Sylvia's only novel, in fact - is considered to be semi-autobiographical, as Esther’s battles with her mental health so closely parallel the poet's own struggles with clinical depression. 

Sylvia Plath working on a typewriter

Sylvia Plath

While The Bell Jar deals with complex and serious issues - including self-harm, mental illness, and sexism - there are many instances of dark comedy within the narrative, which Kirsten is reportedly keen to explore in her movie.

In fact, last year - without giving away the title of the book – Kirsten told IndieWire that she was working on adapting a well-read book for the silver screen “in a funny way”.

She said: “It’s going to be a dark comedy and I already have my actress —I’ve wanted to direct for a long time. It’s based on a book, but… it really could make it any way you [wanted].

­­“It’s the kind of book that — it could be so, so didactic and bad or you could really make a life of something [from it]. So you really need to make your own scenes up.”

Deadline reports that Dakota Fanning, who has consistently wowed audiences with her acting abilities from a very young age, is set to take on the role of Esther Greenwood. 

Dakota Fanning on the red carpet

Dakota Fanning

As of yet, there is no further casting news. This means that we will have to wait and see who Dunst will slot in to play the likes of Doreen, a rebellious young woman from NYC, Jay Cee, a strict magazine editor, Buddy, a small-town boy with dreams of a traditional marriage, and Mrs Greenwood - better known to readers as Esther’s overbearing mother.

Nellie Kim joins Dunst as the film’s co-writer, while Priority Pictures’ Lizzie Friedman, Karen Lauder and Greg Little will produce alongside Fanning and Echo Lake Entertainment’s Brittany Kahan.

Filming isn’t expected to begin until early 2017, which means that we will have to wait a while before we can see this hugely-anticipated movie adaptation.

However, on the plus side, it does give us all plenty of time to re-read The Bell Jar in the meantime. 

Images: Rex Features

Related

rexfeatures_597688a.jpg

Get ready for 'gritty' Little Women reboot in dystopian Philadelphia

943b2ac0-28f3-0134-b055-0a814d95abff.jpg

Emily Blunt stars in ominous Girl On The Train trailer

Thelma-and-Louise.jpg

50 female friendships in movies

iStock_74226529_MEDIUM.jpg

The best Gallic literature for your reading group

Comments

More

Bookstagrammers: the Insta tribe keeping it real on social media

They're not in it for money or exposure

by Anna Brech
26 May 2017

Blake Lively is set to star in her own version of Big Little Lies

Get ready for The Husband's Secret, everybody...

by Kayleigh Dray
26 May 2017

Watch: Anna Kendrick reveals her favourite female writers

"They have written these beautiful, funny, wonderful books.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
25 May 2017

Why you should keep a list of every book you’ve ever read

An act of honesty in a 'fake' digital age

by Anna Brech
25 May 2017

UK publisher launches new imprint to address diversity in books

Fewer than 100 books written by non-white British authors were published last year

by Sarah Biddlecombe
16 May 2017

Emily Browning slams Twilight series as “emotionally abusive”

Aussie actor was Stephenie Meyer’s first pick to play Bella

by Joe Ellison
16 May 2017

Here’s how you can (legally) watch The Handmaid’s Tale in the UK

We finally have the answer

by Kayleigh Dray
16 May 2017

These are the books you need to read, according to female TED speakers

12 inspirational tomes to add to your reading list

by Sarah Biddlecombe
15 May 2017

Two brilliant word-of-mouth books to pop on your summer reading list

Load up your Kindle, pronto

by Anna Brech
10 May 2017

Book lovers, this is what your reading habits say about you

Good news for drama and romance fans

by Sarah Biddlecombe
09 May 2017