Stiles, Plum, Killer cover new 'Bell Jar'

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NEW YORK -- Julia Stiles will star in an adaptation of Sylvia Plath's autobiographical novel "The Bell Jar" and produce the feature with Plum Pictures in association with Killer Films.

Stiles and CAA spent two years optioning rights to the coveted project from French producers StudioCanal and closed the deal Friday. Plum partners Celine Rattray, Daniela Taplin Lundberg and Galt Niederhoffer will produce with Stiles. Killer Films' Christine Vachon and Jocelyn Hayes Simpson will executive produce.

The 1950s-era drama centers on young book editor Esther Greenwood (Stiles), who grows troubled by the social trappings of her time and slowly descends into mental illness. Principal photography is tentatively expected to begin in early 2008.

The film originally was brought to the screen in 1979 by AVCO Embassy Pictures with director Larry Peerce and star Marilyn Hassett. Since then, rights to the only novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (published around the time of her suicide in 1963) have been held by several parties. Gwyneth Paltrow starred in a 2003 biopic of Plath's life, "Sylvia."

Stiles wrote and directed the dramatic short film "Raving," produced by Plum and financed by Elle magazine based on an article in the publication. The film, starring Zooey Deschanel and Bill Irwin, will premiere this weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival and May 8 on the Sundance Channel.

Tristine Skyler, who is now adopting the novel, co-wrote "Getting to Know You," a 1999 feature adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' short stories. Current projects include an adaptation of Jane Mendelsohn's dark coming-of-age "Innocence" for Killer Films and penning "Come Closer" for Miramax Films.

Plum's upcoming projects include the Tribeca Film Festival premiere "Watching the Detectives" and the now-shooting "Diminished Capacity." Upcoming projects in development include "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" at Paramount with star Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese attached, and a remake of the French thriller "Cache" for Universal with Ron Howard attached to direct.
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