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Kirsten Dunst to Make Directorial Debut With Dakota Fanning in ‘The Bell Jar’

Pascal Le Segretain, Getty Images
Pascal Le Segretain, Getty Images

After working with great directors like Sofia Coppola, Lars Von Trier, Cameron Crowe and Sam Raimi, it’s honestly sort of surprising that it’s taken Kirsten Dunst this long to set up her own film project — but it seems like it was well worth the wait, as the actress’ directorial debut will be based on Sylvia Plath’s literary classic The Bell Jar. Could there be anything more perfect?

In what might be one of this year’s best marriages of director and material, Deadline reports that Dunst will make her feature directing debut with an adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar. Released in 1963, it was the only novel written by the poet, who famously struggled with depression and committed suicide a month after the book hit shelves in the UK.

Dakota Fanning will play the lead role of Esther Greenwood, a bright and aspiring young writer who moves to New York and accepts an internship at a prominent magazine. Although she makes new friends, Esther finds her life slowly unraveling: Her plan to spend the summer writing a novel is hindered by her lack of life experience, and she grows increasingly depressed despite the help of a therapist.

Plath’s novel is a remarkably realistic, painfully relatable and emotional story — not entirely unlike some of the films Dunst has appeared in, like Melancholia and The Virgin Suicides. The actress co-wrote the adaptation of The Bell Jar with Nellie Kim, and plans to begin filming the project early next year.

Dunst most recently appeared in Midnight Special, and is reportedly reuniting with Sofia Coppola for a remake of The Beguiled, based on the Clint Eastwood thriller from 1971. She also stars in Woodshock, the upcoming film that marks the feature directing debut of sisters and fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy.

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