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kirsten dunst is directing a new movie adaptation of sylvia plath's the bell jar

Dakota Fanning will play Esther Greenwood.

by Alice Newell-Hanson
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21 July 2016, 9:20am

​Still from from "Aspirational" by Matthew Frost

Kirsten Dunst has made such a major contribution to the sleepover movie canon that it feels entirely right for her to lead a new film adaptation of Sylvia Plath's original 1963 girl-coming-of-age novel, The Bell Jar. Dunst has acted out adolescent angst and longing in The Virgin Suicides, Bring It On, and underrated PG-13 classic Crazy/Beautiful. Her apple-y cheeks and coy intelligence are, for anyone who ever went to a Blockbuster video after school on a Friday night and lied about their age, completely intertwined with our own imaginings of growing up.

Dunst will not only direct the film but has also co-written the screenplay, along with Nellie Kim, who is also Dunst's make-up artist. It will be Dunst's first feature film as a director, though she has previously directed two shorts (Welcome, 2007, starring Winona Ryder, and 2010's Bastard). Production on The Bell Jar is scheduled to begin in early 2017.

Deadline reports that Dakota Fanning is expected to play the film's protagonist, Esther Greenwood. Plath's novel follows Esther's immersion in and rapid disillusionment with New York City's women's magazine world after she wins a competition to become a guest editor at fictional publication Ladies' Day. The book's events, including Esther's subsequent mental breakdown, are based loosely on Plath's own experiences as a teenager in 50s New York and New England.

An earlier movie adaptation of novel, released in 1979, received universally dire reviews. But we trust Dunst, who has been working in movies since the tender age of seven, to hit this one home.

Credits


Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Still from from Aspirational by Matthew Frost