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Eliza Scanlen Talks Being Part of Little Women's Iconic Ensemble Cast

Eliza Scanlen Talks Being Part of Little Women's Iconic Ensemble Cast

Eliza Scanlen Talks Being Part of Little Women's Iconic Ensemble Cast

PRIDE chatted with the Little Women and Sharp Objects star about playing Beth, what it was like acting next to Laura Dern and Meryl Streep, and whether she roots for Jo & Laurie or Amy & Laurie!

byraffy

Following-up her Oscar-nominated, solo directorial debut Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig's Little Women is an empowering, modern, and refreshing take on Louisa May Alcott's classic 1868 novel. PRIDE's Raffy Ermac chatted with one of the film's actresses, Sharp Object star Eliza Scanlen, about how she got the role of Beth, what it was like to be part of an absolutely stacked cast (that includes names like Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep), and working with so many amazing women in front of and behind the camera. 

PRIDE: What was the genesis of you getting the part? What attracted you to this iconic role. Were you a classing literature fan? How did it all come to be?

Eliza Scanlen: Well I auditioned for Little Women at the time I was doing Sharp Objects press. I was in New York doing some press when I went in to meet Greta and Francine Maisler, the casting director. But before any of that happened, I sent her a self-tape. I originally auditioned for Amy, but, this was after they had found Florence. So they were very interested in seeing me as Beth. So I put down a Beth self-tape too. And that was how I received interest I guess.

I'm not particularly a big fan of classical literature, but I was aware of Little Women and you know, books like Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, books that I grew up with, but Little Women was never something that I read as a child. So it was really nice to visit it as an adult and have a different experience with it as opposed to being young and reading it. I kind of wish I did read it as a kid.

It was, as Greta was saying today, it was a pretty simple casting process. Everything seemed to just fall into place. The choices that she made, they weren't really any difficult choices to be made. It all just happened to work out very seamlessly. Which was amazing, because that usually never happens.

Obviously, this cast is incredibly stacked with. You're acting with some of your contemporary peers, but then also legends like Laura Dern and Meryl Streep. Was it surreal, being a part of a production like this?

100 percent. When I found out I got the role it took months for me to process that I was going to be working with these people that I've looked up to for a really long time. I'm going toe-to-toe with these incredible actors that are renowned in the industry. After seeing Lady Bird I was obsessed with Greta and Saoirse, and Timothée too. Um, but it was a nice mixture of veterans and contemporary peers, as you were saying. So there was a lot to play with and it's been really nice seeing everyone again because it's been over a year since I've seen Saoirse. It's something that you only dream of for a really long time, so to actually have that experience was phenomenal.

Speaking of Greta, what was it like to work on a production with women not just in front of the camera but also behind the camera, calling the shots. Greta is such a powerhouse, she wrote the screenplay and directed the film, so what was that like?

Yeah, she's an auteur in the coolest sense. She created the world so well for all of us to exist within it. It's truly inspiring to see Greta, who was also pregnant at the time, direct something that she wrote and something so beloved and dear to so many people. I've had the pleasure of working with both female and male directors in my short acting career. I guess especially for this story, Greta provides the sensibility that maybe a man wouldn't be able to provide directing it, so it was special to have Greta guide us through this story. I don't have a particular preference, but being a woman it was particularly inspiring to see Greta dip her toe in every department and have such a strong opinion on everything that occurred in the story and every decision that was made on that set. It definitely pushed me to take more risks with, you know, just to try new things and. I recently wrote and directed a short film. That was definitely because of seeing Greta work.

One of my favorite parts of the film was when Meg tells Jo, "Just because my dreams are different than yours doesn't mean they're not important." I really liked that aspect of the film because it really explores these different kinds of women and shows us that they're not just one dimensional. So what was it like to just to be a part of an ensemble production like that?

I totally agree with you. I think the way Greta has written lead women really sheds light on each March sister's ambitions and values them all equally. Even Beth, who's life is cut short by sickness. It was really special and I think that Beth has to grow up a lot faster than the other sisters because she's forced to come to terms with something that no child should have to come to terms with at such a young age. Beth has a simple way of looking at life, but Meg says in the film, it doesn't mean that it's unimportant or less valuable than Jo's ambitions and dreams. And I think there's something special about supporting your sisters, and, well supporting other people's dreams and ambitions. I think Beth gets a lot of joy out of supporting her sisters and she is the glue that holds the family together, you know? I think there's something really noble in that. She has a kind of beautiful stoicism about her, and I think there's nothing wrong with living simply, and I think Beth really represents that.

And just to wrap things up on a fun note, as a fan, if you were watching the film, would you be rooting for Jo and Laurie or Amy and Laurie?

Oooh. That is a very, that is a tough question. I would say...Amy and Laurie, only because the relationship feels a lot stronger. I think Laurie was a broken boy when he was asking Jo to marry him. He had some personal stuff to work on and it felt like when he finally got together with Amy, he'd addressed it, so it felt like a more stable relationship. It's all about stable relationships!

Little Women hits theaters this Christmas. Watch the trailer below!

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Raffy Ermac

Digital Director, Out.com

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel