Who should play Jo and Laurie? Thoughts on the ideal Little Women cast

By Trix Wilkins

PBS Little Women

Image courtesy of PBS and Masterpiece

I had originally planned to write a post about Little Women and the compassionate use of taxes today (stay tuned for a future post if that takes your fancy this end of financial year. Disclaimer: I am not a tax agent or tax lawyer and in no way affiliated with the IRS, ATO or any other tax-related organization).

Then I heard about PBS and Masterpiece (the creators of Downton Abbey and the Sherlock Holmes series starring Benedict Cumberbatch) producing a TV mini-series of Little Women – and so I’m opting to write about that instead (taxes or TV, hmm…).

Here’s an excerpt from the PBS feature on this upcoming series:

Writer and executive producer Heidi Thomas says: “Little Women is one of the most loved novels in the English language, and with good reason. Its humanity, humour and tenderness never date, and as a study of love, grief and growing up it has no equal. There could be no better time to revisit the story of a family striving for happiness in an uncertain world, and I am thrilled to be bringing the March girls to a new generation of viewers.”

Now it looks like casting hasn’t yet been announced as far as I can work out (though principal photography is due to start in July), so until it has, we are free to imagine!

My thoughts on the ideal Little Women cast…

Jo March: Emma Watson

I know Emma is a versatile actor, but I still associate her with the book-loving intellectually-brilliant sassy yet devoted (Ron! How could you not have noticed for so many years!) Hermoine Granger from Harry Potter who reminds me an awful lot of Jo March (if Jo had gone to Hogwarts I think she would have been friends with Hermoine).

Beth March: Jennifer Lawrence

Am I choosing actors who might not pass for teenagers? Nonsense, if Elizabeth Taylor could play Amy then I don’t see why Jennifer Lawrence couldn’t play Beth! Beth is sweet and generous with spunk simmering under the surface. Not exactly Katniss Everdeen of the Hunger Games, but I bet Beth would have traded places with her sister too.

Meg March: Mandy Moore

She was great in Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember as Jamie Sullivan, and I think she’d be lovely as the beautiful eldest sister Meg of “Vanity Fair” who marries John Brooke for love not money.

Amy March: Alexis Bledel

I wonder if Alexis will be forever in our minds Rory Gilmore, but for some reason I can still see her playing Amy. This might weird out fans who are pro-Jo-Laurie and also pro-Rory-Jess though.

Theodore Laurence: Milo Ventimiglia

Yes the age thing might be an issue, but I don’t care (see note on Beth March). I think he’d make a great Laurie and had that whole brooding book-reading struggling-artist thing down pat in Gilmore Girls (plus he is actually Italian).

Mrs March: Winona Ryder

I think it would just be poetic to have the woman who played Jo March twenty years ago play the mother who encouraged Jo to write and who was a kindred spirit!

Mr March: Christian Bale

I am laughing so much right now as I write this. My pro-Jo-Laurie leanings are coming out strong (see note on Mrs March). It would be poetry, absolute poetry, for the Jo and Laurie of 1994 to play the married Mr and Mrs March of 2018.

I have no picks for Professor Bhaer and John Brooke. I’m too busy being delighted by the idea of Winona Ryder and Christian Bale returning in this series.

Who would you like to see play Jo March and Theodore Laurence in the new Little Women series? (And the rest of the Little Women cast if that takes your fancy!)


Author and book sale PIC

4 thoughts on “Who should play Jo and Laurie? Thoughts on the ideal Little Women cast

  1. “Jo” should be sought from unknown actors as Scarlett O’Hara was. She must not be pretty. I hope they Use the opportunity to respect the author’s intent to teach girls that power was not about physical beauty. I hope they leave in the laughter and don’t grief us to death. They should find unknowns for all of them. Laurie was a moody and refined half-Italian boy, not a jolly American lad. He is nearly always miscast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like this idea of finding unknown actors, and giving them a shot at these huge shoes to fill! I tend to agree with Lois though that they would probably need at least one or two “big names” to draw people in, and a nostalgic factor would help. I agree, I imagine Louisa would have wanted the casting to emphasize character over physical beauty.


  2. Catherine, I agree that the actresses should resemble Alcott’s descriptions of the characters in the book. Jo needs to be tall and gangly. Meg and Beth are both described as being “little,” particularly Beth. Meg’s hands are small, and big girls don’t have small hands. And Amy has to have curly blonde hair. My biggest problem with the latest version of “Little Women” was that none of the four sisters looked right. Kirsten Dunst came the closest, but she was too bouncy for my vision of Amy.
    I’m not that familiar with young actresses, but I can see Dakota Fanning as Amy, Abigail Breslin as Beth, and perhaps Alexis Bledel as Meg. Ms. Bledel is tall, but she also looks delicate. I don’t have a candidate for either Jo or Laurie. Perhaps you suggestion of finding unknown actors for Jo and Laurie would be best. I do think they need some “names” to ensure that people tune in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I could see Alexis Bledel as Meg! These are interesting picks 🙂 Dakota Fanning is a beauty as Amy was, she would be a nice fit too. The 1994 version I admit I loved the casting for Jo and Laurie, and especially Beth, Claire Danes did a beautiful job (though Christian Bale is not how I pictured Laurie in my mind while reading the book, and Winona Ryder is of course a delicate beauty than true to Louisa’s description of Jo, I still enjoyed the on-screen chemistry).


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