Greta Gerwig’s ‘Lady Bird’ follow-up sets sights on the ‘Sharp Objects’ breakout star.
HBO’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects has already given us plenty to talk about. From the intriguing use of words to the stellar performances from the cast. And one cast member who’s received notable praise is Eliza Scanlen, standing out even alongside the likes of Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson. It’s no surprise then that she’s already drawn the attention of big movie studios.
Variety has reported that Scanlen is in talks to join Greta Gerwig‘s upcoming Little Women. The actress is believed to be in talks for the role of Beth March, the last remaining of the book’s sisters to be cast. Beth is the quietest of the four sisters, known as the shy, kind one who holds the family together. The role was previously played by Claire Danes in the 1994 adaptation, directed by Gillian Armstrong. Scanlen’s role as Amma in Sharp Objects absolutely points towards this, in at least a part of her multifaceted performance.
When the character presents herself to Clarkson’s frightening matriarch, she slips into an eerie performance as the daughter she always wanted. And the polar opposite of her half-sister– Adams’ rebellious, heavy-drinking Camille. However, when out with her friends Amma reveals she has considerably more in common with Camille than their mother would like to believe.
Scanlen has quite the balancing act to do here, ensuring that both sides of the character feel authentic and believable. After all, if either side wasn’t believable to the audience, we’d have a difficult time believing she could so easily deceive her mother. But Scanlen rides the line perfectly, making Amma believable and keeping us guessing as to what drives her.
Prior to Sharp Objects, Scanlen had a short stint on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. On which she played a similarly troubled character whose family problems drove her to bully another girl. She’s also starred in a couple of short films, most notably in The Babadook art director Alex Holmes’ Grace. The Scanlen-led short is still doing the rounds at festivals, but the trailer can be seen here:
If officially cast, Scanlen will join an all-star cast in the latest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott‘s novel. Emma Stone, soon to be seen in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite, will portray Meg March. Meg is the oldest sister, the one who runs the household in the absence of their mother. She is the best example of a “little woman,” fitting into the expectations of women at the time.
Stone is set for a strong couple of years following her Oscar win in 2017. And Lanthimos is known for getting bizarre, yet engaging performances from his actors. With Stone having demonstrated her versatility in a number of different roles, it’ll be exciting to see what she delivers here. In addition to Little Women, Stone will also return to her Zombieland character Wichita in 2019.
Lady Bird cast members Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet will also be joining the cast. Ronan will play Jo March, stepping into the role previously portrayed by Winona Ryder. After a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Gerwig’s previous film, Ronan will also be going up against Margot Robbie later this year in Mary Queen of Scots. Jo is often seen as the strong-willed sister, rejecting much of what is expected of women at the time.
And Chalamet will follow in the footsteps of Christian Bale, playing Laurie Laurence. Laurie is described as the “boy next door” character, an attractive, charming young man with a tragic past. After starring in two of this year’s Best Picture nominees, Chalamet has also been announced to play the lead role in Denis Villeneuve’s much-anticipated Dune.
The role of Amy March, previously played by both Samantha Mathis and Kirsten Dunst, has gone to Florence Pugh. Amy is the youngest sister and the one with the biggest connection to Laurie. She’s also the most artistic of the four and is thought to be quite a selfish character. Pugh received praise for her leading role in Lady Macbeth and is definitely one to look out for. She also had a role in the recent Liam Neeson train thriller, The Commuter.
And last but certainly not least is Meryl Streep as Aunt March. The character is often thought to be cold and heartless, at least on the surface. She’s a rich widow, who clashes with the family and looks down on their actions. Streep also has a connection to Scanlen through Sharp Objects director Jean-Marc Vallée. Vallée directed the first season of HBO’s Big Little Lies, which Streep has signed on for the second season of. She recently gave one of her finest performances in Steven Spielberg’s The Post and is, of course, a very welcome addition to any movie.
Should she sign on for Little Women, Scanlen will be in terrific hands for her first feature film. Gerwig is undoubtedly one of the most exciting filmmakers working today, and the cast is stacked with people many young actors could only dream of working with. And after holding her own amongst world-class performers in Sharp Objects, Scanlen certainly has what it takes.