She’s been acting for more than 25 years, ever since playing Tom Hanks’ daughter in The Bonfire of the Vanities and Brad Pitt’s precocious friend in Interview With the Vampire, but now Kirsten Dunst has added another credit to her resume. The actress will make her feature film directorial debut with an adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s iconic novel The Bell Jar, starring Dakota Fanning as Plath’s protagonist, EW has confirmed.
Plath’s only novel, written just before the author’s death by suicide at age 30 in 1963, is about the young adult life of a woman named Esther Greenwood, who takes an internship at a magazine in New York City and then begins to suffer a mental breakdown when she returns home to Boston. There was a previous movie version of The Bell Jar in 1979 and Gwyneth Paltrow played Plath in a 2003 biopic, Sylvia.
Dunst, who cowrote the screenplay with Nellie Kim, is not planning to act in the upcoming project. She previously directed a pair of short films — Welcome, starring Winona Ryder and John Hawkes (which screened at Sundance), and Bastard, with Brian Geraghty and Lukas Haas (which screened at Tribeca and Cannes) — and was most recently seen in Midnight Special and the second season of FX’s Fargo.
Deadline was first to report the Bell Jar news.