Kirsten Dunst to ring The Bell Jar to life with Dakota Fanning

I know what you’ve all been thinking: “Where is Kirsten Dunst and who kidnapped her?” But I’m here to tell you she’s fine and well, so you can stop panicking. Since a third movie about a certain man-spider came out in 2007, Dunst hasn’t done much in the way of mainstream films. She’s mostly been doing smaller films, most of which have gone unnoticed, with the exception of 2011’s MELANCHOLIA, this year’s MIDNIGHT SPECIAL and the most recent season of FARGO—which garnered her an Emmy nom. But one thing she has been doing that has most definitely been under-the-radar is directing—but soon you will know her work in that field quite well.

Deadline reports that Dunst is set to direct a film adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s 1963 classic, THE BELL JAR, with Dakota Fanning set to star as the lead character, Esther Greenwood. Dunst co-wrote the script with Nellie Kim, and will begin shooting in the spring of 2017.

Earlier this year, though, The Playlist spoke with Dunst about a “mystery project” she was working on, and it's now believed she was talking about JAR:

It’s not a dark comedy, though there’s an element of that — if you knew the thing that I was adapting, you might be like wow, that is absolutely nothing like a dark comedy!

Surprisingly though, she has much higher hopes for it than many would think, not wanting it to be some low-budgeted indie:

I will say that I don’t want it to be just some ‘little indie.’ I want it to be a… bigger movie.

THE BELL JAR is about a woman who takes an internship in New York at a magazine, but when she returns home to Boston she begins suffering from mental illness and begins contemplating her whole life—or something like that. Plath committed suicide only one month after the book was published, and it remains her only novel.

Clearly I don’t know much about the book. My most recent experience with it was watching an episode of MASTER OF NONE, where the lead character (played by Aziz Ansari) reads a passage from the book wherein Greenwood is looking at the branches of a tree and envisioning all those branches as different life paths, not knowing which to take—or something like that.

I’m curious to see how Dunst fares as a director, and what she does to transform such a depressing-sounding book into a mainstream movie. The last notable film adaptation of the book was in 1979 by Larry Peerce. So it’s been awhile. All I can say to Dunst is good luck, and to be sure to inform us on where Fanning has been these last few years as well.

THE BELL JAR is set to start filming early 2017.



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