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Kirsten Dunst’s Directorial Debut The Bell Jar Adds Three

The Bell Jar, Kirsten Dunst's upcoming directorial debut, has added three: Patricia Arquette, Bel Powley and Stacy Martin.


The Bell Jar, Kirsten Dunst’s upcoming feature film debut, has added three: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) and Stacy Martin (Nymphomaniac).

First reported by Screen Daily, the casting coup means that this troupe of newcomers joins Dakota Fanning and Fargo‘s Jesse Plemons, as Dunst’s modern adaptation of the titular Sylvia Plath novel begins to coalesce. In what would be one of the author’s final creative efforts before her untimely death – Plath took her own life a month after The Bell Jar was published – the story centers on a young woman (Esther Greenwood) who uproots and moves to the city.

Tackling themes of mental illness and crippling depression, The Bell Jar has been held up as a “haunting American classic,” and Dunst has certainly brought together an enviable ensemble to repackage that story for the big screen. The cameras are set to begin rolling soon after the turn of the year, and you can get the gist of Plath’s tragic story, below.

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.

Co-writing the script with Nellie Kim, Kirsten Dunst will make her first foray behind the lens when The Bell Jar begins filming in early 2017.

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Michael Briers