Entertainment & Arts

Kirsten Dunst 'to direct film of Sylvia Plath novel The Bell Jar'

Kirsten Dunst and Dakota Fanning Image copyright AP/Getty Images
Image caption Both Dunst (left) and Fanning began their careers as child actors

Actress Kirsten Dunst is to make her feature directorial debut with a new film version of Sylvia Plath's novel The Bell Jar, according to Deadline.

Dakota Fanning is set to play the lead in the film, which Dunst is reportedly writing with Nellie Kim.

Plath's only novel, published in 1963, tells of Esther Greenwood - a young woman beset with suicidal depression.

An earlier version, released in 1979, starred Marilyn Hassett as Esther and Julie Harris as her overbearing mother.

Dunst, whose film roles include Mary Jane Watson in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films, has directed two short films.

Welcome, starring Winona Ryder, screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007, while Bastard screened at Cannes in 2010.

Plath, who based The Bell Jar on her own experiences, took her own life shortly after its publication.

Sylvia, a 2003 film about her life, starred Gwyneth Paltrow as Plath and Daniel Craig as her husband Ted Hughes.

Fanning will shortly be seen in American Pastoral, an adaptation of the Philip Roth novel that marks Ewan McGregor's feature directorial debut.

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