I read several articles recently about the news that Kirsten Dunst will be directing a movie adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.
My initial reaction is that this will not be good. I hate to say it, and I mean no offense to Kirsten Dunst. This is my favorite book of all time and because of that, I feel the instinctual need to protect it as if it were my own child, cradling it in a blanket and keeping it safe on my bookshelf as I fight off the predators who threaten to adapt it into something it’s not.
Of course, this is an exaggeration. I think I am simply worried about the prospect of a film adaptation. I know that one was already done in the past and it failed miserably. I don’t even want to watch it at all. So, in my mind, it would take a superhuman feat of direction, acting and understanding in order to do it a good amount of justice.
Now, this would be Dunst’s directorial debut. So I really have no idea what to expect from her in that sense. What I really want to know is what her relationship is with the work. Is she like me, who read it at a pivotal moment in her life and has returned to it time and again over the many years? Or did she read it once, see the one movie and think she could do better? Maybe she’s read it way more than me. Maybe she hasn’t read it at all. I need to know something along these lines in order to have some confidence in the project.
On the other hand, the articles say that Dakota Fanning is slated to play protagonist Esther Greenwood. I’ve never been a fan of Fanning’s. Maybe it’s more the characters she’s played (because I recently read an article about her studies on women in film.) However, while my initial thought is still a bit of fear at it not being good at all, depending on Dunst’s direction I think she could play this character well. I think she could do Esther justice, it will just be a question of how much emotion and in what way she will bring it to the role.
I’m intrigued to see how this plays out. But I’m still cradling my copy of The Bell Jar fearing the worst and hoping for the best.
What do you think of this partnership? How do you think another film adaptation of The Bell Jar will be? Do you think The Bell Jar should be a film? Let’s talk.