Deadline brings word that Kirsten Dunst is set to make her first foray behind the camera with The Bell Jar, a new adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name that has already secured Dakota Fanning to headline.
Johnson, who has lined up roles in Brimstone and Ewan McGregor’s crime drama American Pastoral (which, incidentally, also marks McGregor’s directorial debut), will lead the feature film as Esther Greenwood. Nellie Kim, meanwhile, penned the script opposite Dunst.
For those unfamiliar with Plath’s source material, The Bell Jar is set against a post-war 1950s, where Greenwood secures an internship with a high-profile magazine in New York City. However, a crippling mental illness begins to take hold as Greenwood returns home to Boston.
This isn’t the first time that The Bell Jar has found its way onto the silver screen; in 1979, a movie adaptation placed Marilyn Hassett in the lead role, at a time when Larry Peerce called the shots from behind the lens.
Now, it is Dunst’s turn to have a crack at directing. Granted, the actress has dabbled in the world of filmmaking via short films such as Welcome (Winona Ryder, John Hawkes) and Bastard (Brian Geraghty, Lukas Haas) which enjoyed relative success across the festival circuit in 2007 and 2010, respectively.
Priority Pictures is eyeing a production start in early 2017 for The Bell Jar, and we’ll be keeping tabs on Kirsten Dunst’s directorial debut as it progresses in development.