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Kirsten Dunst & Dakota Fanning Unite For New Film Of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

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Kirsten Dunst is to direct a new film adaptation of Sylvia Plath's seminal novel The Bell Jar.

Dakota Fanning has been cast as lead character Esther Greenwood, an intelligent young woman who succumbs to mental illness while interning at a magazine in New York City in the 1950s, Deadline reports.

Dunst has also co-written the film's script and is planning to start shooting in early 2017. It will be her feature film directorial debut after she previously directed a couple of short films.

The Bell Jar was previously adapted into a 1979 film starring Marilyn Hassett as Esther Greenwood. The novel, which Plath based at least partly on her own experiences with mental illness, was originally published in 1963, a month before the writer died of suicide, under the pseudonym "Victoria Lucas."

It was first published under Plath's name in the UK in 1967, and would not be published in the US until 1971, in accordance with the wishes of Plath's widower, Ted Hughes, and mother, Aurelia.

Now acknowledged as a modern classic, The Bell Jar has been referenced in many movies and TV shows, including Heathers, Gilmore Girls and Master of None.

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