For fans of great women — especially Greta Gerwig, Saoirse Ronan, Meryl Streep, Louisa May Alcott, and the women of the fictional March family — Christmas has come early today, with Vanity Fair rolling out a number of official first looks at Gerwig’s much-anticipated Alcott adaptation, “Little Women.” You can get a quick look at some of the photos below.
The cast includes Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” duo Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet as Jo March and Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, respectively. The remaining March sisters are played by “Sharp Objects” breakout Eliza Scanlan (Beth), Emma Watson (Meg), and indie favorite Florence Pugh (Amy). The supporting cast includes Streep, Laura Dern, and Bob Odenkirk.
While Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” followup will offer a faithful adaptation of Alcott’s beloved novel, going so far as to shoot on location in Massachusetts and often seeking out actual Alcott-adjacent locations (like the schoolhouse where her own father taught), Gerwig and her cast appear to be bringing a modern eye to some of the story’s themes.
Specifically, Gerwig has further dug into the relationship between Ronan’s Jo and Chalamet’s Laurie, one of the key bonds in the story. “Jo is a girl with a boy’s name, Laurie is a boy with a girl’s name,” Gerwig told Vanity Fair. “In some ways they are each other’s twins.”
Gerwig added that for “a subtle connection between the two,” her costume designer “had them swap articles of clothing throughout the story.” She explained, “They find each other before they’ve committed to a gender. It wouldn’t be wrong to call Saoirse handsome and Timothée beautiful. Both have a slightly androgynous quality that makes them perfect for these characters.”
And while the film itself makes no sweeping judgments about Alcott’s own romantic life, “Gerwig wove details of Alcott’s writing from her letters and diaries into the script, including a line from Jo about loving freely and deeply. It suggests a yearning that the book ‘Little Women’ doesn’t otherwise explore.”
The film is also influenced by Gerwig’s own admiration for the bold way the March sisters expressed themselves creatively. “Every single one of them took what they did very seriously,” Gerwig told Vanity Fair, “pointing out that each sister has an art form. Jo writes, Meg acts, Amy paints, and Beth plays piano.”
Earlier this year, Pugh told IndieWire how much she admired Gerwig’s vision for the film. “I think what Greta [Gerwig]’s done is make a classic that we’ve all seen and we’ve all heard and we’ve all read — if you haven’t, you’ve heard your gran talk about it at some point — and she’s made it relevant to us now and she’s made these four sisters talk in a way that sisters talk,” said Pugh at Sundance. “It was a really cool thing to be part of, and it’s fresh. I’m looking forward to watching it, and I got to work with some amazing women — and men.”
Head over to Vanity Fair to see the first photos from “Little Women” and to hear more from Gerwig and her cast.
Sony Pictures will release Gerwig’s “Little Women” in theaters December 25, 2019.