The day Lady Bird started streaming on Amazon Prime was a great one for me, because I’m still not over what a poised and passionate filmmaker that its director and screenwriter Greta Gerwig is. After seeing the success of Lady Bird and becoming the fifth woman nominated for a Best Director Oscar, Gerwig has stayed relatively quiet about what’s next, but we now have an inkling of what film project the director is now tackling. Greta Gerwig’s Little Women may be her next directorial task, and the rumored cast already looks familiarly star-studded.
According to Variety, Gerwig is "eyeing" a Columbia Pictures retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s original novel about four sisters coming of age in post-Civil War America. The film adaptation would come soon after a recent PBS miniseries that starred Angela Lansbury, Emily Watson, and newcomer Maya Hawke. As a book nerd well-versed in British period dramas, I thought the actors in the miniseries were the pinnacle of strong Little Women casting, but the suspicions about which top-tier actresses will play the March women in Gerwig’s movie already include the best of Hollywood’s starlets.
Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Emma Stone are reportedly in talks to star in the film, and although it’s unknown who is linked to which role, Streep is clearly meant to play Marmee, the March sisters’ loving and wise mother. Blame it on Stone’s voice and brassiness totally resembling Katharine Hepburn, who played heroine Jo in a 1933 Little Women adaptation, but I don’t see her playing anyone but the tomboy writer in this story. I can already picture Stone as Jo cutting off her hair and donning pants instead of a skirt to run around outside.
Of course, it’s impossible not to connect Gerwig to Lady Bird, and while there might not be a Lady Bird sequel, Little Women could bring us Gerwig’s reunion with two of her young Lady Bird stars. Academy Award nominees Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet are also in talks to join the adaptation, but it’s difficult to say whether the onetime high school couple in Lady Bird end up together as Amy and Laurie in this version. 22-year-old English actress Florence Pugh is also linked to the production, and her age alone could peg her as a better fit for youngest sister Amy.
Variety also reports that several actresses will likely audition for third-born sister Beth opposite Stone before the Fourth of July, which is definitely a greater hint that Stone will play Jo. The two sisters have a special bond in the original story, and Jo particularly is Beth’s main nurse when she becomes ill halfway through the book. Although a tweet from The Hollywood Reporter claims that 29-year-old Stone would play oldest sister Meg and Ronan, 24, will play Jo, the exact casting isn’t confirmed. This means I still have my fingers crossed that, despite Stone’s age linking her more to Meg, she’ll nab the main role as Jo.
So soon after a highly publicized Little Women adaptation on TV, fans of the story could have been unenthusiastic about this potential retelling. However, based on Twitter, it looks like people are very into this possible cast helmed by Gerwig’s direction.
Gerwig’s Little Women would be the book’s first high-profile film adaptation since 1994’s hit movie starring Winona Ryder as Jo. ICYMI, a modern-day version of Little Women is also due out in theaters at the end of this year. If you ask me, its selling point seems to be that Coach Bolton and Ryan Evans from High School Musical star as Mr. March and Laurie (it kind of works?).
Until we see confirmation of who’s playing who in this new version of Little Women, I’ll be busy imagining other potential movies that lend themselves to Lady Bird reunions.
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