Fresh off the box-office success and Oscar-nomination glory of Lady Bird, actress-director Greta Gerwig is taking on an adaptation of a hot, 19th-century property: Little Women. The book has been a favorite since its publication in 1868 and if you’re one of the readers who grew up with the novel and have seen its (many, many) other adaptations, you’ll understand just why this is Infinity War-level news.
Joining Gerwig are Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Saoirse Ronan, and Timothée Chalamet, who are all in talks for lead roles. It’s not specified what those roles are yet, but it’s hard to imagine Streep as anyone but matriarch Marmee March. This would be the second project where Ronan and Chalamet star under Gerwig’s direction, as they were both in Lady Bird.
Alcott’s novel follows the lives of four sisters growing up in Civil War Era America, focusing on each girl’s journey into adulthood and navigating the expectations as they clashed with their own dreams. Modern readers usually connect with Jo March, the headstrong second-eldest sister who dreams of becoming a writer, but each sister has her own internal conflicts to overcome. Little Women is notable for showcasing the ambitions of middle-class girls beyond marriage, which was not done in children’s literature much before. It’s just one aspect of Little Women that makes it so dear to the hearts of its fans, uniting generations of readers who grew up with the book.
According to Variety, the studio is testing a handful of actresses for the role of Beth opposite Emma Stone.
The Little Women adaptation has been developing under Columbia Pictures for a while, with Amy Pascal, Denise Di Novi and Robin Swicord set to produce. Gerwig was originally brought on to rewrite the script, but following the success of Lady Bird was courted to direct role as well.
Little Women hasn’t quite reached Spider-Man levels of rebooting, but it the book has had six movie adaptations over the years — with big names like Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Winona Ryder, and Christian Bale starring — and six television series, as well as two anime adaptations. There’s also two web series focusing on modern-day versions of the story (a Canadian one and an Indian one), a musical and an opera. Fans have been besotted with Little Women for over a hundred years and its legacy continues on today.