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Julia Stiles Cast in The Bell Jar

Julia Stiles has been cast to play the main character in The Bell Jar, Esther Greenwood, a woman whose depression leads her to undergo electroshock therapy and attempt suicide. However, the production team — of which Stiles is also a part — seem to want to veer away from anything too sad.

According to Variety:

Book has many dark overtones, but Rattray said the project will emphasize some of the more uplifting elements.

"Esther Greenwood has a strong outlook on life, and we're really looking to bring out the humor in the character," she said. "We don't want to do a depressing descent into the world of suicide."

To find out why I'm not completely thrilled about this,


To be honest, this movie news made me cringe when I first read it. The Bell Jar is sensitive territory for obvious reasons. And until recently when Stiles made her own short film starring Zooey Deschanel (which will screen at the Tribeca Film Festival, by the way) I could not take her very seriously.

Yet apparently Stiles has "been seeking to bring a new version [of The Bell Jar] to the screen for several years" which makes me think this is not something Stiles is just doing for the heck of it. Besides, the reality of the matter is, I can't imagine anyone in the role of Esther Greenwood, so Stiles may as well be the one.

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BradMullet BradMullet 10 years
I love Julia Stiles. Haven't read the book you're all talking about, but it seems she deserves a chance at a serious leading role.
Beautifulbarbie Beautifulbarbie 10 years
The book was good.
Casimira Casimira 10 years
I don't mind Julia Stiles doing this movie so much. I think she showed when she made O and 10 Things that she understood the Shakespeare behind the fluff. But the idea of lightening up the movie is horrible. Poor Sylvia...
demeter demeter 10 years
I can definitely see her in this role.
JessNess JessNess 10 years
I love The Bell Jar as a book. It has been made into a movie before but it didn't do so well. Logistically this is just not a book that in any way can be translated well into film because there is way to much inner dialog and emotion. Plus Julia to me just does not look like Esther
balenciagababe balenciagababe 10 years
The Bell Jar is one of my favorite books. And this... ""Esther Greenwood has a strong outlook on life, and we're really looking to bring out the humor in the character," she said. "We don't want to do a depressing descent into the world of suicide."" ...made me mad. The book is ABOUT being able to understand that life has a dark side - this is what Sylvia Plath would have wanted. The Bell Jar is not a comedy?
Linda-McP Linda-McP 10 years
Skinny fat, I was thinking the same thing. Sylvia should be rolling in her grave with this one. Just can't see it working.
skinny-fat skinny-fat 10 years
And Syliva Plath is rolling in her grave. The woman's entire life was a descent into the world of sucide. Sacrilege. ************************************************ Toto, I have a feeling we're not in America anymore :(
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 10 years
I can actually see Julia Stiles in The Bell Jar, just because she seems very intelligent as well as a cynical view of the world. At least that's how she appears to me :-)
Maggie-Mae Maggie-Mae 10 years
Let me get this straight- the girl who did "the prince and me" wants to do a not-so-serious version of the Bell Jar? Awesome, should be oscar material...
blogsap blogsap 10 years
if they're only looking to "bring out the humor of the character" it will be a bastardized version.
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 10 years
yes, but I despise Maggie Gyllenhall. I think she might bring too much sexiness to the role. We need someone demure and quiet. I have faith that Julia could pull it off. And if she doesn't, then she's not as big of a fan of the book as she claims.
Magica Magica 10 years
I agree that Maggie Gyllenhaal would be the best choice. I haven't seen Julia Stiles being convincing in a role yet. :(
Lindsb Lindsb 10 years
I agree fully, RCL. Who would want to deviate from the book!!? Depressing, yes. Brilliant, yes. Julia has been talking about directing something like this for awhile, but I didn't think she'd be starring in it.. Hmm.. only time will tell. It's still better casting than Debbie Harry's new movie. Seriously!! I am still not over it. Damn you, Dunst.
RCLdesigngirl RCLdesigngirl 10 years
that book was sooooo deeply emotional...I can't imagine why anyone would choose to make a movie that doesn't follow the book exactly. And if the subject matter is too serious to interpret, maybe no one should make a movie of it. I agree with Whip that Maggie Gyllenhall might be the only person who could do Esther any justice.
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 10 years
I don't know if Julia has the acting chops to pull this off. I think Maggie Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, or Zooey Deschanel would do a better job. More importantly, I don't know a movie adaptation can do the book justice. So, I'm kind of skeptical about this as well.
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 10 years
The Bell Jar is one of my most favorite books!
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