The Independent reports that Hollywood actress Julia Stiles is involved in adapting Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar for the screen. She has found both a producer and a writer, and the first draft of the script will be ready next month.
Stiles has this to say about the project: "I'm trying to keep the book separate from Plath's biography," Stiles says. "That's one thing I really want to be careful of with the film version... I actually feel that it's a very triumphant story. I wouldn't want to lose her tenacity and spark. I think that will be as important to portray as her depression."
The Bell Jar isn't really Plath's best work, but it has a very huge following especially among adolescent girls--I think I have two copies of this somewhere around the house. Also, it's right up there with Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted in the Angry Young Girl canon. Christina Patterson acknowledges this: "How could such a book not appeal to young women grappling with their sexuality, their ambitions, their warring desires for security and freedom? Plath's gaze is ferocious and irresistible." It tries to concretize the turmoil of the girl's inner life.
Stiles was described in the article as the star of the Bourne series and the Omen remake--and that's the pinnacle, baby. Eversince she appeared in Shakespearean films, like O and Ten Things I Hate About You, she seemed to be under the impression that she was her generation's most gifted actor. They didn't even do close ups of her dancing in Save the Last Dance. The most interesting girl in Mona Lisa Smile was Maggie Gyllenhaal. Hell, when she fell to her death in that Omen movie, the people in the theater cheered. Cheered!
It's not that I have an ax to grind about Ms. Stiles, but I just can't see Julia Stiles as Esther Greenwood. I can't see how this movie will work--unless they can manage to squeeze in Angelina Jolie in there.