Kirsten Dunst, fresh off an Emmy nomination for Fargo, was confirmed yesterday to be directing an adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, which will star Dakota Fanning as the depressive heroine, Esther Greenwood. Dunst has already directed a couple short films, but this will be her feature film debut, and she also worked on the script, which she spoke about in vague terms earlier this year. In an interview with Indiewire, when asked if her then-unnamed movie would be a dark comedy, she said, “I just like movies that are funny when they shouldn’t be. So there’s a little bit of that. It’s not a dark comedy, though there’s an element of that — if you knew the thing that I was adapting, you might be like wow, that is absolutely nothing like a dark comedy!”
And she was right because when The Bell Jar was announced as her directorial effort, it was like, That is definitely not a dark comedy. To be fair, she doesn’t say it actually IS a dark comedy, she just said she likes finding humor in unexpected places. If anything, her comments about dark comedy suggest she has a pretty specific idea of what she wants to do with the movie, which is promising.
I’m into this, but I have one reservation and one question. First, my reservation: The Bell Jar is such an internal story. This is exactly the kind of text a nervous filmmaker loads with voice-over to ensure the audience understands at every moment everything that is being thought or felt. I hope that as a director Dunst avoids such obviousness. If she can adapt The Bell Jar without more than, say, ten percent voice over—ideally without any, but no one trusts audiences anymore—then she will be a director to watch.
And my question is: Will the movie include one of the best descriptions of a dick ever written in the English language? See, it’s not that The Bell Jar is funny. It’s that Esther Greenwood describes a dude’s junk as a “turkey neck and turkey gizzards”, and if that doesn’t at least make you crack a smile then you are lost to us forever. I sort of can’t wait to see what Kirsten Dunst does with The Bell Jar.
Attached - Kirsten out in LA yesterday.