Meryl Streep gave Greta Gerwig little choice in casting her in the new Little Women adaptation after telling the actress-turned-director she would be among its stars.
Gerwig was beginning to put together her ideal line-up for the period drama when Streep reached out and expressed her interest in the project, based on the literary classic by Louisa May Alcott.
The triple Oscar winner was firm in letting Gerwig know she wouldn't take no for an answer, but the young filmmaker couldn't have been more thrilled.
"Meryl actually told me she was going to be in the movie...," Gerwig shared on U.S. talk show The View, "and that's the best thing she could ever tell you!
"She said the book had meant a lot to her and she wanted to be a part of it," the Ladybird director continued.
Gerwig reveals they discussed the movie at length over lunch, and part of the conversation actually inspired a key scene featuring Florence Pugh and Timothee Chalamet.
"We had a lunch and she talked to me about so many things having to do with the book, and she's so smart, not just about acting, but just with storytelling, like, what are the things you need to tell a story?" Gerwig recalled.
"And she gave me this entire speech about, like, 'You have to make the audience understand that women at that time, it's not just that they couldn't vote, it's not just that they couldn't own property, it's that they had nothing. If they left a marriage they wouldn't even leave with their children; they wouldn't have anything.'
"So then I basically took that entire speech and just basically gave it to another character (played by Pugh), but that's the amazing thing working with great actors: they only help you understand what you're trying to do even more, and she really laser-zoomed in."
The speech is delivered flawlessly onscreen by Pugh as Amy March, leaving Gerwig in complete awe of the "amazing" Fighting with My Family star.
"She is extraordinary, and I love the way she delivers that speech...," the 36 year old gushed.
In addition to Pugh, Chalamet, and Streep, who plays Aunt March, Little Women co-stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Laura Dern, and Gerwig is still pinching herself at pulling off the adaptation the way she had always envisioned.
"I feel like I can't believe we got to make this movie," she beamed.
The cast and crew's hard work has been paying off - Little Women was named among the top 10 films of 2019 by officials at the American Film Institute and Time magazine, while it will also compete for two Golden Globes, including Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama for Ronan, although Gerwig was snubbed in the Best Director category, which is an all-male affair.
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