Filmmaker Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated Little Women adaptation is moving quickly, but a casting switcheroo is taking place before cameras roll. Word broke in June that the Lady Bird director was eyeing an adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott book for her next project, with an all-star cast lined up. Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Saoirse Ronan, and Timothee Chalamet were part of that initial lineup, with Laura Dern, Florence Pugh, and Sharp Objects breakout Eliza Scanlen being added to the cast in subsequent weeks.
But now Variety reports that Stone has had to drop out of the project for unknown reasons, and Sony Pictures has moved quickly to secure Emma Watson as her replacement. Variety says it’s unknown what role Stone was to play, but IMDb listed her as filling the role of Meg March, so it’s possible that’s who Watson will be playing.
The Harry Potter actress made a triumphant return to blockbuster filmmaking last year with Disney’s smash hit Beauty and the Beast and also starred in the Dave Eggers adaptation The Circle, which was less than a smash. Watson has been careful in choosing roles following Potter and also juggles her own studies and charity work, so signing on to Little Women was no flippant decision.
Gerwig was in high demand after the immense success of her directorial debut Lady Bird, and it was delightful to see her cash in her chips so to speak on a star-studded adaptation of a classic novel. Production on Little Women is expected to begin next month, with Amy Pascal, Denis Di Novi, and Robin Swicord producing.
As for Stone, while it’s a bummer she won’t be working with Gerwig, she’ll be just fine. She co-stars in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite later this year, stars opposite Jonah Hill in Cary Fukunaga’s Netflix limited series Maniac, and is set to shoot the long-awaited Zombieland 2 next year.