Angela Lansbury could finally win an Emmy after enduring a record 18 losses. She is to play the scene-stealing role of Aunt March, the grande dame of the family, in a new TV version of “Little Women.” Louisa May Alcott published this novel in two parts in 1868 and 1869 and it has been adapted for film, television and the stage numerous times.
The pedigree of this upcoming production could done much to help Lansbury’s likelihood of winning TV’s top prize. “Little Women” is to be a BBC/PBS co-production and will be presented stateside under the “Masterpiece” umbrella. The adaptation is by Heidi Thomas (“Call The Midwife“) while Vanessa Caswill (“Thirteen”) is to handle the helming of the three episodes.
Co-starring with Lansbury is BAFTA winner Emily Watson as the widowed mother of the four title characters: Jo (Maya Hawke), Willa Fitzgerald (Meg), Annes Elwy (Beth) and Kathryn Newton (Amy). Another BAFTA winner, Michael Gambon, is to play their benevolent neighbor Mr. Laurence, while Jonah Hauer-King is to be his grandson Laurie who is the object of their collective affection.
Lansbury’s part is a pivotal one in the plot. Acclaimed character actresses Edna May Oliver, Lucile Watson and Mary Wickes made much of this role in the 1933, 1949 and 1994 film versions as did Oscar winner Greer Garson (“Mrs. Miniver”) in the 1978 telefilm.
Lansbury lost every one of her record 12 consecutive Drama Actress bids for “Murder, She Wrote” beginning in 1986. Most recently, she contended for her 2005 guest role on the crime drama “Law & Order: SVU.” She also was nominated twice for hosting the Tonys (1987, 1990) and twice more in the movie/mini races, which is where she would be eligible for “Little Women.” She lost her 1983 lead bid for “Little Gloria … Happy at Last” and her 2004 supporting one for “The Blackwater Lightship.”