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AFM: Kirsten Dunst's directorial debut 'The Bell Jar' finds sales home

Cornerstone boards drama based on Sylvia Plath’s classic.

Cornerstone Films has boarded international sales on Kirsten Dunst’s (Melancholia) directorial debut, The Bell Jar.

The film is based on the literary classic written by Sylvia Plath and stars Dakota Fanning (American Pastoral) in the lead as Esther Greenwood and Jesse Plemons (Black Mass) as Lenny Shepherd.

Dunst is co-writing the screenplay together with Nellie Kim and the film is going into production early 2017. Cornerstone Films will commence sales at the American Film Market with UTA handling the North American rights.

Priority Pictures optioned the re-make rights from Studiocanal and Lizzie Friedman (The Stanford Prison Experiment) will produce together with Dakota Fanning and Brittany Kahan from Echo Lake Entertainment (Truth) with Celine Rattray (American Honey) and Kirsten Dunst as executive producers.

Set in the 1950s, Esther Greenwood (Dakota Fanning), a young woman from the suburbs of Boston, wins a summer internship at a prominent women’s magazine in New York City.

Esther tries to embrace this newfound freedom but finds herself neither stimulated nor excited by the city’s glamorous culture and lifestyle. Struggling with the expectation that girls her age should idolize this world, she is unable to reconcile her conflicted feelings. As her time in New York counts down, she can’t escape her memories of an idyllic childhood turned on its head, of Buddy – her home town first love – and of the rising wave of anxiety at the thought of a future life without real meaning.

Cornerstone’s Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder said: “The themes explored in The Bell Jar resonate as strongly in 2016 as they did in 1963 when the novel was first published.  Kirsten Dunst’s compelling vision for the film has a vibrant authenticity that modern audiences will embrace and we are proud to be part of the team bringing her directorial debut to the marketplace.”

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