Emma Watson is joining the cast of writer/director Greta Gerwig’s Little Women film adaptation. The Harry Potter and Beauty and the Beast alum will take on the role that was previously intended for Emma Stone (who had to pass on the movie for as-yet unspecified scheduling issues).
The latest in a long line of screen adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved tale (which was originally published in the late 1860s), Gerwig’s Little Women is a traditional retelling that focuses on the experiences of the March sisters and their matriarch Marmee in post-Civil War Massachusetts. Gerwig will reunite with her Lady Bird stars Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet on the project, which has started to come together quickly since the filmmaker became formally attached to direct back in late June. Indeed, in the past month or so alone, Laura Dern (Big Little Lies) and Eliza Scanlen (Sharp Objects) have joined not only Ronan and Chalamet, but also Meryl Streep and Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth) as members of the film’s cast.
According to Variety, roles are still being worked out and it’s not clear yet which of the March sisters will be played by Watson in Gerwig’s take on Little Women. Stone was originally reported to be portraying Meg in the film, so it’s quite possible that Watson will ultimately wind up playing that same role herself. As for the rest of the cast: Ronan was previously said to be playing Jo (the second oldest March sister after Meg and the story’s protagonist), with Pugh playing Amy (the youngest March sister) and Scanlen portraying Beth, but all that could eventually change, it seems.
By the look of it, Little Women will indeed serve as Watson’s followup to her turn as Belle in Disney’s live-action remake of its own animated fairy tale musical, Beauty and the Beast (which became a huge success at the worldwide box office last year). Watson has been pretty selective with her post-Harry Potter film roles so far, having largely stuck to either period dramas, indie fare and/or filmmaker-driven projects like Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring and Darren Aronofsky’s Noah (with the obvious exception of Beauty and the Beast). For the same reasons, a role in Gerwig’s Little Women sounds very much like something in the onetime Hermione Granger’s wheelhouse.
Little Women itself is also (arguably) something that makes sense for Gerwig to tackle, given her previous work as an actor, writer and/or director. The setting of Alcott’s story may be far removed from the modern New Yorkers and/or Californians whose lives tend to be the focus of Gerwig’s films, yet the former’s novel deals with themes of class, (white) privilege, and young women coming of age that are all too similar to those that have been featured prominently throughout the latter’s oeuvre thus far. As such, there’s fair reason to think that Gerwig will succeed in putting a fresh and worthwhile spin on Little Women with her own cinematic interpretation.
Little Women opens in U.S. theaters on Christmas Day 2019.