Kirsten Dunst may play 19th-century London prostitute. Columbia is developing for her an adaptation of the bestselling novel ''The Crimson Petal and the White,'' a Victorian ''Pretty Woman'' story

By Gary Susman
Updated October 18, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
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The Crimson Petal and the White

type
  • Book
genre

At last, 20-year-old Kirsten Dunst can say she’s come of age, since she’s about to undergo a rite of passage required of virtually all major Hollywood actresses: She’s going to play a prostitute. Variety reports that Columbia is developing for her an adaptation of the current bestselling novel ”The Crimson Petal and the White,” about Sugar, a teenage streetwalker in 19th-century London who rises in society thanks to her brains and her romantic attachment to a wealthy businessman. Think of it as a Victorian ”Pretty Woman.”

In fact, ”Pretty Woman” executive producer Laura Ziskin is the one who snapped up the rights to Dutch-born Scottish author Michel Faber’s novel, with an eye toward turning it into a vehicle for Dunst, whose ”Spider-Man” movies are also Ziskin productions. ”This is a 19th-century tale told with a 21st-century perspective,” Ziskin tells Variety, ”built around this amazing hooker character.” (No doubt it was the chance to play ”this amazing hooker character” that appealed to the actress.)

Dunst is currently in New York City shooting the period collegiate tale ”Mona Lisa Smile” with Julia Roberts. Maybe the ”Pretty Woman” star can give Dunst some pointers.

The Crimson Petal and the White

type
  • Book
genre
author
  • Michel Faber
publisher
  • Harcourt

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