Why make a modern retelling?

8/1/18

Little Women: A Timeless Story

Clare Niederpruem is the co-writer and director of LITTLE WOMEN, a modern retelling. Here’s why she wanted to bring the March family to a new generation.

I grew up in Massachusetts so, naturally, Little Women has always been a part of my childhood. My mom passed her love of the classic down to me. We bonded over the book and the 1994 film with Susan Sarandon as “Marmee.”

As an adult, I read the book again—with fresh eyes—and wondered, “what would the March sisters be like today?” I went to another female filmmaker, Kristi Shimek, who also had an eternal love for the story, and together we wrote the adaptation. We were inspired by the dynamic relationship between the sisters and, as an aspiring writer and storyteller, felt a kinship with Jo.

Relevant and timeless themes—family, dreams, love and loss—make Little Women the classic that it is and allow us to explore who the March family is in 2018 while remaining true to the ethos of Louisa May Alcott’s most famous work, celebrating its 150th anniversary this fall.

What does it mean for little girls to dream today? How do you support each other when your view of the world and aspirations differ? How do we keep family as the cornerstone of our lives? These are all questions that Louisa May Alcott explores through the lives of these four sisters who learn that our lives rarely go as planned, but in that chaos, we find the beauty that exceeds imagination.

Alcott, a pioneer, encouraged us to persevere without fear and never let those dreams alienate us from others, particularly our sisters, friends and other women. We must use our shared—and unique experiences—to support, encourage and inspire.

A story written 150 years ago has been part of many of our earliest memories and a bridge connecting generations. The memories of sitting with my mom to read and watch Marmee, Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy are etched in my mind forever.

The biggest compliment I’ve received after screening the film came from a mother, who simply said, “I can’t wait to bring my 10-year-old daughter.” I want to give to the world what Louisa May gave me: a special connection to my past and a limitless hope for the future.


Clare Niederpruem is the writer and director of LITTLE WOMEN, a modern retelling, in theaters September 28. Visit www.LittleWomenTheMovie.com for videos, ticket information and more.