Meryl Streep Joins The Cast Of Greta Gerwig’s ‘Little Women,’ But Not As Marmee

Streep is slated to join Emma Stone, Saoirse Ronan, and Timothée Chalamet.

Meryl Streep (L) and director Greta Gerwig attend the 90th Annual Academy Awards Nominee Luncheon a
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Streep is slated to join Emma Stone, Saoirse Ronan, and Timothée Chalamet.

When word got out that Meryl Streep was in talks to play a role in the new Little Women adaptation to be helmed by Greta Gerwig, Alcott enthusiasts assumed that Streep would be playing the role of Marmee, the mother of the March girls mentioned in the novel’s title.

But Town & Country says that Marmee (a large part) is not the role that Streep wants to play. Robin Swicord, who wrote the 1994 adaptation of the Alcott classic and is now producing Gerwig’s version, states that Streep won’t be playing Marmee.

“Meryl Streep gets to play any part she wants to play.”

Because Gerwig is taking a new approach to Little Women, the part of Josephine March seemed more appealing to the Oscar-winning actor. Josephine March is the wealthy aunt of the March girls as the focus will be on the girls’ adult life. Aunt Josephine helps guide the girls after they leave home in Gerwig’s version.

“It’s really taking a look at what it is for a young woman to enter the adult world.”

The movie will reportedly start shooting in October in Boston in the hope that it can be released in late 2019.

The Los Angeles Times is trying to figure out which of the stars attached to the production would play which parts. People familiar with Little Women have made some educated guesses based on the names being floated around (which include members of Gerwig’s Lady Bird cast). So far Emma Stone, Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet and Florence Pugh have all been mentioned, and the Los Angeles Times shared their best guesses.

“Ronan would play the fiercely independent Jo, Stone would fit as the sensible eldest sister Meg, and Pugh would be a natural as the confident youngest sister, Amy. (Quiet Beth’s casting TBD.) Chalamet would, of course, make a lovely Laurie, the crush-worthy boy-next-door.”

And while Marmee was a great guess for Streep, “acerbic” Aunt Josephine March has more meat than the March girls’ mother, who is sweet and ever so practical.

Swicord says that Gerwig’s version of the Louisa May Alcott story will be a more grown-up version of the classic.

“It’s very adult and interesting and thoughtful … and, of course, given the material, it’s always going to be romantic. Greta has a wonderfully associative, well-furnished mind. Her take on the novel more than convinced us that we could bring something new to the screen.”

The 1994 version starring Winona Ryder was very popular, but the cast that Gerwig is assembling seems formidable.