It was announced yesterday that Patricia Arquette and Bel Powley have officially joined the cast of the upcoming adaptation of The Bell Jar. This will be Kirsten Dunst’s feature-length directorial debut, and will star Dakota Fanning in the lead role. This will also be the first film that Dakota Fanning serves as producer. Cornerstone Films is currently handling foreign sales at the American Film Market this week.
Based on Sylvia Plath’s 1963 novel, the story follows a young woman who takes an editorial internship at a magazine in New York City, and consequently begins to deteriorate mentally until she ultimately suffers a mental breakdown. The Bell Jar was the only novel ever published by Plath, (who committed suicide in 1963). The book has been made film before in 1979 version directed by Larry Peerce.
Julia Stiles had the rights to the film from 2006-2012 and was attempting to develop the script during that time. She had planned to produce/star in an adaptation, but eventually had to drop the project because of lack of financing. Since then Kirsten Dunst has taken the project and teamed with Nellie Kim to further develop the script (although it is not clear whether they used the same script as Stiles or started with a new one).
Dunst, primarily known for acting abilities, has previously wrote/directed the short film Bastard in 2010. She is currently set to star in Sofia Coppola’s upcoming film The Beguiled. Patricia Arquette won the Academy Award for supporting actress in 2015 for Boyhood, and served as an executive producer this year for the women rights documentary Equal Means Equal. She is currently lending her voice to the upcoming animated feature film Toy Story 4.
Bel Powley is known for The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015) and A Royal Night Out (2015). The British actress can next be seen in A Storm in the Stars next year with Dakota Fanning’s little sister Elle Fanning, which tells the love story of Percy and Mary Shelley.
The Bell Jar will also star Stacy Martin and Jesse Plemons.
The film is expected to begin filming in early 2017.