The beloved novel by Louisa May Alcott, “Little Women,”celebrates the 150th anniversary of its publishing on Sept. 30. “Little Women”was originally published in two volumes, the first debuted in 1868, and details the lives of the four March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy.
In celebration of the anniversary, a new film adaptation opens nationwide Friday, Sept. 28. Distributed by Pinnacle Peak, “Little Women” opens in nearly 700 theaters across the nation and will play in 20 theaters throughout Utah.
A modern retelling and produced entirely in Utah, “Little Women,” was written and directed by Clare Niederpruem. Best known as an actress, producer and costume designer, “Little Women,”is Niederpruem’s directorial debut and she is the driving force behind its production.
“’Little Women’has been my favorite book since childhood,” Niederpruem said. “About three years ago, I reread it and realized what a different dynamic and meaning the book has to me when reading it as an adult. That’s what sparked the idea of creating a new, modern retelling of this amazing story.”
Writing credits on the film go to Alcott, Niederpruem and Kristi Shimek, who also acted as a producer on the film.
“One of the things I’m most proud of in the production of this film is how many women worked in key production roles,” Niederpruem said. “Most of our producers and executive producers are women, the amazing Anka Malatynska was our cinematographer, and in addition to writing and producing, Kristi Shimek edited the film. And beyond them, many other women worked in production and costume design, in the art department, and more. This version of “Little Women,” is a film about women made by women.”
With such iconic characters, casting was of paramount importance. The film stars local actresses as the leads, including Melanie Stone as Meg, Sarah Davenport as Jo, Aimee Lynne Johnson as Young Jo, Allie Jennings as Beth, Elise Jones as Amy, and Taylor Murphy as older Amy.
“During the production, we had the four adult actresses all live together so they could bond,” Niederpruem said. “Okay, to be honest, it was for budgetary reasons, but they really did bond and it brought an amazing chemistry to the production. They made the set an absolute joy to work in.”
Filmgoers will be thrilled to see renowned actress Lea Thompson in the role of Marmee. As an actor, Thompson has more than 90 credits to her name, and she is also a producer, writer and director. “It was a dream come true to work with Lea,” Niederpruem said. “I’ll be forever grateful to her for taking a chance on me as a first-time director. She’s an incredible advocate for women in film, and I learned so much from her and she really did become a kind of mentor to me and all the actors on set. She inspired all of us to perform better than we ever thought we could.”
“Little Women,” was shot in the summer of 2017 in Utah. “We were so lucky to find this incredible historic home tucked away in a neighborhood in Murray,” said Niederpruem. “If you are a fan, you know the March home is a character in itself. The home we filmed in has a giant, unfinished attic just like the book and the moment I saw it I knew it would be absolutely perfect.”
Creating this film became a true labor of love for Niederpruem and the entire cast and crew. “I have adored this story since I was a little girl and am thrilled we could bring the story to life in the modern day,” Niederpruem said.
“I think it’s really exciting that the film is coming out so close to the 150th anniversary of the book,” Lea Thompson said. “And I’m so proud to be a part of it.”
Sisters — and dreams — are unique in their ability to inspire, encourage and change the world.
For 150 years, Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” has motivated women of all ages to dream together and celebrate family. Coming to theaters for the first time, a modern retelling of “Little Women” brings a new generation together with their mothers, sisters and friends.
From girls playing in the attic to women living with purpose, the March sisters — Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy — are committed to always supporting each other. Yet, growing up sometimes means growing apart.
An aspiring writer, Jo leaves for New York determined to publish a novel. In the wake of rejected draft upon draft, her editor challenges Jo to write about something more interesting — her family.
When tragedy brings the sisters back home, sticking together takes on new meaning. As Jo comforts her sick sister, Beth asks for one thing: a story. Jo knows the perfect one — by heart.