Julia Stiles will produce and star in Plum Pictures' adaptation of The Bell Jar, the psychodrama and only novel written by the late poet Sylvia Plath.

Stiles and Plum optioned the book and will produce in association with Killer Films. Tristine Skyler is adapting the project, which is currently out to directors. The producers are aiming for an early 2008 shoot.

The semi-autobiographical story chronicles the emotional breakdown of Esther Greenwood, a junior magazine editor in New York in the 1950s whose growing despair leads to breakdown and electroshock therapy. Plath herself committed suicide in 1963.

'The Bell Jar is full of imagery that makes it perfect for the cinema,' Stiles said. 'We look forward to finding a director who will capture Sylvia Plath's humour and vivid imagination to balance the story and surprise audiences.'

Plum Pictures' Celine Rattray, Daniela Taplin Lundberg and Galt Niederhoffer will produce with Stiles, with Killer Films' Christine Vachon and Jocelyn Hayes Simpson serving as executive producers.

Stiles will next be seen opposite Matt Damon in this summer's The Bourne Ultimatum and she starred in the two previous Bourne episodes as well as Ten Things I Hate About You, Save The Last Dance, The Business Of Strangers, and Edmond.

Plum's credits include Grace Is Gone, Dedication, Great World Of Sound, Lonesome Jim, and the upcoming Watching The Detectives.

The New York-based company is currently shooting Diminished Capacity with Matthew Broderick, Virginia Madsen and Alan Alda. Projects in development include The Rise Of Theodore Roosevelt, which has been set up at Paramount with Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese attached to star and direct, and the remake of Cache at Universal with Ron Howard attached to direct.