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Louisa May Alcott’s influential 1868 coming-of-age novel has been subjected to many, many adaptations, including seven theatrical films alone - notably one from 1994 with Winona Ryder and a young Christian Bale. However, the Little Women cast that has made the biggest impression on modern culture most recently comes from Greta Gerwig’s take on the story from 2019, starring Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, British A-lister Emma Watson, and soon-to-be sci-fi action star Timothée Chalamet, to name a few.
Among the central cast from this celebrated tale of four sisters learning to navigate their professional, social, and romantic lives in post-Civil War New York, there are three Academy Award winners and just as many nominees. One of them is Florence Pugh, who actually earned her first Oscar nod for her role, which I doubt will be her last. In fact, I think every major player from Little Women (veterans and up-and-comers alike) are destined to continue leading careers of great achievement.
To better understand how I would come to form such a prediction, let us take a deeper look at their future. The following is a breakdown of what to look forward to from 12 of the most notable cast members from the acclaimed period piece, starting with one actress who has almost made a career out of period pieces.
Saoirse Ronan (Josephine “Jo” March)
Before she played temperamental writer Jo March, Saoirse Ronan was young Briony Tallis in Atonement, Agatha in The Grand Budapest Hotel, and the title character of the early 2000s-set dramedy Lady Bird - her first collaboration with Little Women director Greta Gerwig. The Irish-born, 26-year-old, four-time Oscar nominee has even more period pieces on the horizon, including a forbidden 19th-Century romance with Kate Winslet in Ammonite, Wes Anderson’s love letter to 20th Century journalism in The French Dispatch, and a murder mystery set in 1950s London that is currently untitled.
Emma Watson (Margaret “Meg” March)
British (but Parisian-born) actress Emma Watson made a doozy of a debut at 11 years old as Hermione Granger in the first of eight Harry Potter films before branching out into playing other literary figures, like Sam in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Belle in Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast update, and, Meg March in Little Women, of course. Other than speaking against the controversial opinions of a woman partly responsible for her career (J.K. Rowling) and speaking in favor of other various sociopolitical causes, hopefully we will see the 30-year-old star return to the screen soon enough in two more novel adaptations, While We’re Young with Perks director Stephen Chbosky and Queen of the Tearling, based on Erika Johansen’s fantasy series - both of which have been in development since 2013.
Florence Pugh (Amy March)
It was not until 2014 when English actress Florence Pugh landed her first acting gig (opposite Games of Thrones Maisie Williams) in The Falling, but only two years later, her lead part in Lady Macbeth would set her on a path to stardom defined by roles in the wrestling biopic Fighting with My Family and Ari Aster’s festival of carnage Midsommar in 2019. Following her Oscar nomination for playing Amy March in Little Women, the 24-year-old will finally join the MCU in 2021 as Yelena Belova in Black Widow and the upcoming Hawkeye series for Disney+. Hopefully, that same year, audiences will see her reunite with Outlaw/King co-star Chris Pine in the 1950s-set psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling from director Olivia Wilde.
Eliza Scanlen (Elizabeth “Beth” March)
Making her feature film debut as the youngest March sister, Beth, in Little Women is Eliza Scanlen - previously best known in the States as Amy Adams’ younger sister on the HBO miniseries Sharp Objects and the soap opera Home and Away in her native country, Australia. The 21-year-old recently appeared in another novel adaptation with an all-star ensemble (Netflix’s The Devil All the Time), wrote and directed the award-winning short Mukbang, and filmed M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller, Old, which is set for a 2021 release.
Timothée Chalamet (Theodore “Laurie” Laurence)
Oscar nominee and recent Saturday Night Live host Timothée Chalamet has a few Little Women cast reunions on the horizon, namely The French Dispatch with Saoirse Ronan (the Lady Bird co-stars’ third collaboration) and opposite Meryl Streep (as well as a slew of other heavy hitters) in Adam McKay’s apocalyptic satire Don’t Look Up for Netlflix. The 25-year-old’s most highly anticipated role at the moment is the lead in Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Dune, unless you count fans of Call Me By Your Name, who are excited to see him and Armie Hammer reprise their roles in the upcoming sequel titled Find Me.
Chris Cooper (James Laurence)
Playing Timothée Chalamet’s grandfather in Little Women is Academy Award-winner Chris Cooper, who has since played a major role on Season 2 of the Amazon Prime drama Homecoming alongside Janelle Monae, and Steve Carell’s choice to run for mayor of a conservative town in director Jon Stewart’s political satire Irresistible. He will next appear in With/In, an anthology film featuring segments that all take place during the Covid-19 pandemic, and will star opposite Patricia Clarkson and Elizabeth Olsen in Light on Broken Glass, the story of an aging Broadway star reflecting on her younger years.
Meryl Streep (Aunt Josephine March)
There is no need to introduce this three-time Oscar winner, who plays the aunt of the March Sisters, but, surprisingly, was not one of the Little Women cast members to receive a nod from the Academy this year. Next, Meryl Streep will play the President in Don’t Look Up, and is producing a documentary based on the acclaimed one-woman show Sell/Buy/Date, but lately this cinema legend has called the small screen home, appearing in the Netflix original musical The Prom, Steven Soderbergh’s Let Them All Talk for HBO Max, and narrating an Earth Day-inspired Apple TV+ animated short.
Laura Dern (Margaret “Marmee” March)
Meryl Streep’s Big Little Lies co-star Laura Dern also did not earn an Oscar nod in 2020 (for playing the March Sisters’ mother, Marmee, in Little Women), but she did for her role as a no-nonsense divorce lawyer in Marriage Story. Speaking of Netflix originals, the actress still voices Sue Murphy for Bill Burr’s 1970s-set animated sitcom F is for Family, which is heading into its fifth and final season, and her reprisal of paleontologist Ellie Sattler in Jurassic World: Dominion is expected to hit theaters in June 2022.
Bob Odenkirk (Robert March)
We might not have seen absurdist comedian Bob Odenkirk in parts like the March Sisters’ minister father in Little Women, if not for his role on Breaking Bad as slick lawyer Saul Goodman, whom he reprised in the prequel series Better Call Saul, which is set to start filming its sixth season in 2021. Also that year, the 58-year-old Emmy-winner will continue to exceed expectations as an average family man turned dangerous vigilante in Nobody, a new thriller from the director of Hardcore Henry, which Odenkirk is also producing.
Tracy Letts (Mr. Dashwood)
Little Women was actually a reunion moment for Mr. Dashwood actor Tracy Letts in many ways, having previously played Saoirse Ronan’s father in Lady Bird, written the original play and screenplay for August: Osage County (which starred his The Post co-star Meryl Streep), and appeared on the Festivus episode of Seinfeld, which Bob Odenkirk also guest-starred on. Additionally, the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner wrote the screenplay for the upcoming Amy Adams drama The Woman in the Window (which he also appears in) and will star opposite Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas as a couple with ties to a series of disappearances in Deep Water, which is now in post-production.
Jayne Houdyshell (Hannah Mullet)
Another Tony Award winner among the Little Women cast is Jayne Houdyshell, who plays the March family’s Irish maid Hannah Mullet, and will actually star in an A24-distributed film adaptation of the play that earned her a Tony, The Humans, which is in post-production at the moment. Also in post is Red, White and Water, the story of a US soldier coming to grips with a brain trauma and PTSD after a tour of duty in Afghanistan, which the 67-year-old actress will star in opposite Jennifer Lawrence, Samira Wiley, and Brian Tyree Henry, to name a few.
James Norton (John Brooke)
Also known for a background in theater is James Norton, who plays Laurie’s tutor and Meg’s lover, John Brooke, in Little Women. The British actor has since followed that by playing scandalous 1960s era artist Stephen Ward in the BBC miniseries The Trial of Christine Keeler, and a struggling single father in the 2020 drama Nothing Special. Next on his to-do list is the Amanda Seyfried-led period horror flick Things Heard & Seen, an animated adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, HBO’s Victorian sci-fi series The Nevers, and, if the odds fall in his favor, succeeding the role of James Bond from Daniel Craig.
What do you think? Is James Norton a good fit for 007, or would you rather see the role fall in the hands of someone with a more established action background? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for additional information and updates on the cast of Little Women, as well as even more inside looks into what is next in store for your favorite actors, here on CinemaBlend.