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Little Women: Big Deal? #book2movies


Sometimes I share news of an adaptation in the works, a deal made, screenwriter and director hired, stars cast in key roles, everything but a start date and then somewhere, somehow a thread is pulled and the whole project unravels. 

Angela Lansbury is Aunt March

When I first wrote about yet another remake of Little Women, it was March of 2015. At the time Canadian director Sarah Polley was on board to direct a remake of Little WomenIn 2016, Greta Gerwig was to have taken over the director's job. Poof! Not happening. Now we have news of a BBC/PBS coproduction. Is it really happening? Little Women based on the Louisa May Alcott classic is listed on imdb as a three part series slated for 2018 so I say with some confidence that you should mark your tv watching calendars.

Emily Watson is Marmy

Maya Hawke stars as Jo

Willa Fitzgerald will play eldest daughter Meg

Annes Elwy is Beth 

Kathryn Newton is set as the youngest sister Amy 

The role of Laurie is played by Jonah Hauer-King

Michael Gambon is Mr. Laurence

Does the idea of another Little Women make you jump in the air shouting girl power or yawn "Not again"? Is it a big exciting deal that they're remaking this classic or do you see it as a tired old tale? Obviously it's an old-fashioned story—the book covers are all pretty hideous, promising nothing but tragedy and treacle, but could a re-telling make it newly relevant and compelling for today's twitter generation? Written by Louisa May Alcott in 1868,  Little Women is the semi-autobiographical story of Alcott and her sisters as they grew up and came of age in Civil war-torn America.

Wynona Ryder and Christian Bale as Jo and Laurie in Little Women/1994

The book has come to your local movie house four times before, most recently in 1994 when 23 year old Wynona Ryder was Oscar-nominated for her performance as Jo. The rest of the cast included 20 year old Christian Bale as Laurie, with then-12 year old Kirsten Dunst as the younger Amy March, and Samantha Mathis as her older incarnation, 15 year old Claire Danes as Beth and Trini Alvarado as Meg. Susan Sarandon was Mrs. March, better known as 'Marmy.'

Little Women /1978

The new project is in able hands with Heidi Thomas, the writer/creator of Call the Midwife penning the script but it would have been interesting to see what Sarah Polley would do with the screenplay. Freshness would have been guaranteed but that was not to be. Instead, Polley wrote the upcoming miniseries based on Margaret Atwood's novel Alias Grace. Polley, a Canadian actor/writer /director is an absolute genius and wouldn't know how to write a staid reboot of a classic if she tried. If you saw her documentary Stories We Tell you probably agree with me. If you haven't seen it, stop reading this right now and go directly to Amazon or Google Play and watch the way Polley plays with reality—and your mind—to tell the spell-binding story of her family. It's like a magic trick. Er, make that go watch it when you finish reading this. Polley also wrote and directed Away from Her, based on the short story Over the Mountain, getting an Oscar nom for her screenplay adaptation of Alice Munro's story about a woman with Alzheimer's.



I just watched the trailer again and realize I totally forgot Gabriel Byrne was the older man who encourages Jo to pursue her dreams of being a writer. Thinking about Jo's writing, her desire to put off marriage and go to New York to be a writer, maybe Little Women is less old-fashioned than I remembered. Watch the trailer; see if you agree?

 Well, tell me what you think. I'm all ears.