Kirsten Dunst Is Directing A Movie Of Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’ — And We Can’t Wait To See It

by Erika W. Smith

Here’s some exciting news: Kirsten Dunst will make her feature film directorial debut with an adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s classic 1963 novel The Bell Jar. The movie will star Dakota Fanning as Esther Greenwood.

According to Deadline, production will begin in early 2017. Both Dunst and Fanning are deeply involved: Dunst co-wrote the script with Nellie Kim, and Fanning is a producer.

bell jar copy

The Bell Jar is groundbreaking for its portrayal of mental illness, and it’s often one of the only books by women taught in high schools — for me, the only books by women authors on my high school reading list were The Bell Jar and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. And, IMO, The Bell Jar holds up way better than another coming-of-age novel from its era, The Catcher In The Rye.

Although Dunst is best known as an actress — she’s up for an Emmy for her recent role in Fargo — she has previously directed two short films: 2007’s Welcome, starring Winona Ryder, and 2010’s Bastard.

While some people are questioning if Dunst is the best person to direct the film, the aesthetic and themes of some of the movies she’s starred in — particularly The Virgin Suicides and Melancholia — could indicate a good fit. And I’d far rather see a woman director for this movie than a man director. All in all, I’m interested in seeing what Dunst does with this adaptation, and I’ll definitely see the film when it comes out.

Top photo: Kirsten Dunst in the Virgin Suicides

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