Kirsten Dunst To Direct Dakota Fanning In Adaptation Of 'The Bell Jar'

Earlier this year, Jessica Kiang caught up with Kirsten Dunst at the Berlin Film Festival to talk about “Midnight Special,” and took the opportunity to ask the actress about the directorial debut she’s been quietly developing. And Dunst had some interesting things to say about what she was working on, but remained cryptic.

“It’s not a dark comedy,” she said of the early talk of the tone of the movie, “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!”

Well, that could certainly be said of Sylvia Plath‘s “The Bell Jar,” which has just been revealed via Deadline as Dunst’s directorial gig. Dakota Fanning will lead the adaptation of the author’s semi-autobiographical novel about a young woman who moves to the big city, and grapples with mental illness (Plath would take her own life a month after the book was published). Here’s the synopsis:

The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under — maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that Esther’s insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic.

Dunst co-wrote the script with Nellie Kim, and production will begin in early 2017. And Dunst has high hopes for the picture telling us, “I will say that I don’t want it to be just some ‘little indie.’ I want it to be a… bigger movie.”

And though it’ll be while yet until we see Dunst’s version, for now you can watch the 1979 iteration, directed by Larry Peerce, below.