Greta Gerwig unveiled her long-awaited “Little Women” adaptation to Oscar and SAG voters in Hollywood on Wednesday, October 23. Gold Derby was on-hand for the panel discussion, which immediately followed the packed screening at the DGA theater. Gerwig was joined by stars Saoirse Ronan, Timothee Chalamet, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern and Meryl Streep. Listen to the full 35 minute Q&A above.
Gerwig, who earned Oscar nominations in 2017 for writing and directing the indie hit “Lady Bird,” was a lifelong fan of Louisa May Alcott‘s classic novel about the four March sisters — writer Jo (Ronan), actress Meg (Emily Watson), painter Amy (Pugh) and pianist Beth (Eliza Scanlen) — who come of age in Civil War-era Massachusetts. (The film costars Dern as mother Marmee March, Streep as Aunt March and Chalamet as neighbor Laurie.) She was initially hired to write this adaptation, and she revealed that “when I reread it as an adult, it seemed so clearly to me to be about money, and women and money, and women and art and money, and how do you make art if you don’t have money?”
While researching the book, she learned more about Alcott’s own life as an author, and “what she did as someone who saved her family economically. She made these different decisions than her heroine did. She didn’t get married and she didn’t have children, but she made the very savvy, economic decision to have Jo March get married and have children, because that’s the thing that was going to sell.”
The more she learned about the book and its author, the more she realized it was “so incredibly pressing and modern and important to tell this story of these ambitious girls who want so much more than the world is able to provide them at this moment.” Although it takes place during a time of “pre-Victorian morality,” she found so much more embedded in Alcott’s story. “You forget how messy and wild it is,” she explained, both of which were elements she wanted to bring to this story of female empowerment.
Gerwig wasn’t the only Academy favorite on the stage. Ronan is a three time nominee herself, including Best Actress for “Lady Bird” and “Brooklyn” plus supporting for “Atonement”). Dern reaped Best Supporting Actress nominations for “Rambling Rose” and “Wild,” while Chalamet competed in Best Actor for “Call Me By Your Name.” And, of course, there’s Streep, who has won three prizes (supporting for “Kramer vs. Kramer,” lead for “Sophie’s Choice” and “The Iron Lady”) out of 21 nominations. Only Pugh is so far nomination-less, although that could very well change this year.
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