The first promotional stills from Little Women have been released by Vanity Fair! Our gallery has been updated with the images, and you can read the article below.
Greta Gerwig doesn’t remember reading Little Women for the first time. “It must have been read to me,” she says when I ask for her earliest memories of author Louisa May Alcott’s classic tale of four girls imagining a world beyond their humble surroundings outside Civil War–era Boston.“I always knew who Jo March was,” Gerwig continues. “She was the person I wanted to be.”
In that, Gerwig has had plenty of company. Little Women is one of the most popular books in the history of American letters; after the first volume sold out its initial run of 2,000 copies in 1868, the novel has never been out of print. Simone de Beauvoir, born in 1908, pretended as a child that she was Jo—Alcott’s protagonist and stand-in, a determined, stubborn tomboy with a flair for writing. Ursula Le Guin says that Alcott’s Jo made writing as a girl feel possible. In film, Katharine Hepburn played Jo in 1933; Winona Ryder, in 1994. Now, Gerwig has created her own Jo for the screen in Saoirse Ronan, who also starred in Gerwig’s debut as a solo director, 2017’s Oscar-nominated Lady Bird.
Gerwig based that film on her own life, and Ronan’s character on herself. Still, Little Women might be even more personal to the director. (Her agent pointed this out to her, Gerwig tells me.) “This feels like autobiography,” Gerwig says. “When you live through a book, it almost becomes the landscape of your inner life. … It becomes part of you, in a profound way.”