UPDATE: A source close to the project confirms to EW that Dakota Fanning is still involved in a version of The Bell Jar currently in development as a Showtime limited series, though Dunst is no longer attached to helm.
EARLIER: Kirsten Dunst will no longer direct a big-screen adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s beloved novel The Bell Jar, the actress has confirmed.
During a recent interview with EW pegged to her upcoming Showtime series On Becoming a God in Central Florida — currently occupying the No. 1 slot on our Must List ahead of its Aug. 25 bow — the 37-year-old actress-producer revealed the project is no longer happening with her at the reins.
“I never owned [the rights], so it went away for me. It went to other hands,” Dunst told EW of the planned film. “That’s not in my hands anymore.” (Representatives for various parties involved in the film — including production company Priority Pictures — did not immediately respond to EW’s request for clarification on the status of The Bell Jar movie.)
Dunst added that producing On Becoming a God in Central Florida, in which she stars as an Orlando-adjacent waterpark employee who claws her way up the ranks of a pyramid scheme, alongside George Clooney and Grant Heslov proved to be a particularly challenging chapter in her career.
“This is the first year I’ve been a mom,” continued Dunst, who welcomed a son, Ennis, with partner and Fargo costar Jesse Plemons in May 2018. “Directing a film and having a baby…. that’s two years of your life, directing, editing, and promoting all of it. Maybe when I’m older I’ll want to again. Right now, I have zero interest in committing myself to that.”
Originally announced in July 2016, Dunst’s version of The Bell Jar (the screenplay for which she co-wrote with Nellie Kim) would’ve marked her feature directorial debut, with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actress Dakota Fanning set to lead the cast. Dunst previously helmed two short films: 2007’s Welcome and 2010’s Bastard.
Plath’s only novel was written just before she died by suicide in 1963. It follows a young woman, Esther Greenwood, who works as a magazine intern in New York City prior to suffering a mental breakdown upon traveling home to Boston.
As for next steps in her career, Dunst speculated that she’d “like to produce more” so she can “enjoy being with my son, and not worry about acting in front of the camera as much.”