Emma Stone quits Little Women – but stop comparing her to Emma Watson


You’ve probably already heard the news. The Twitterstorm that erupted last night largely focused on the fact that Emma Watson is replacing Emma Stone, who is dropping out of Greta Gerwig’s production of Little Women – but stop, stop, stop. Let’s just hold up. We have to break this down for a second.

Ok, so, if you care about the people involved as much as I do, that’s a lot to process. Now, I adore Greta Gerwig. Frances Ha is a masterpiece, and Lady Bird is hands-down one of the best films released this year – I will watch it on repeat multiple times a day if needed. The woman is a comic aficionado. To top that, the news that she’d be producing Little Women later this year left me, and other fans, elated. The cast is pure Hollywood royalty. Timothée Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan and Meryl Streep under the same roof – it’s the 90th Annual Academy Awards Version 2.0. What more could you want?

Emma Watson

So that in itself is big news. I stand with Gerwig, despite the fact that we only just a matter of months ago saw (an admittedly lower-budget and plainer) Little Women small-screen miniseries from the BBC. That, and a basically unknown and unsung (maybe for the better) 2018 adaptation set in the modern day. It all just begs the question, why? Well, because it’s the 150th anniversary of Louisa May Alcott’s novel (sesquicentenary is apparently a word that means the same thing if you’re going to be preppy about it, but Flixist isn’t a place for that.)

You would have thought that the Hollywood types would have seen through the fact that Alcott herself called it ‘moral pap for children’ (I first read it when I was 14 – by the time I wrote a college paper on it I felt slightly differently.) Or at the very least that they would have given each other a heads up. But no, here they go, remaking and refashioning something that possibly could have sat happily with the solid Winona Ryder adaptation from 1994, three times within a year of each other.

Anyway. As I say, I stand with Gerwig. I like her, and I have faith in her directorial abilities, even for something that didn’t necessarily need re-doing. I was optimistic about it – but now we’ve got a whole new bombshell, and that is that Emma Stone is leaving, to carry on her work on The Favorite (or Favourite, dammit, I’m a Brit and will defend correct spelling) with Yorgos Lanthimos.

The Favorite looks like fun. It’s a weirdly laughable, absurd, slightly sinister and dark period comedy, and in a recent post, I mentioned Lanthimos’ eccentric back catalog. It’s also got British household name Olivia Colman and the esteemed Rachel Weisz, as well as Emma Stone, so it looks promising. Problem is, it’s out on November 23 and Little Women starts shooting at a very similar time. Someone must have mixed up Stone’s schedule. Awkward.

But I refuse to hear anything bad about her or to go along with futile comparisons between her and Emma Watson, who is covering for her. You guessed it – this comes right back down to the fact that I think La La Land should have won the Oscar and, so help me, to this day I am defending and championing it, and everyone involved with it, with everything I have in me. With that in mind, I really do have to speak up for my favs, including Emma Stone. She’s a fantastic performer, brilliantly executing roles in The Help, Birdman and even Crazy, Stupid, Love, which is a stupid film but which she still pulls out the bag.

So why all the comparisons? I love Emma Stone, but I also know Emma Watson is amazing. I know nobody beats Hermione or can pull off the publicity that Watson does, or can seem so effortlessly cool and fun and upbeat and articulate all of the time. But that’s the point. She is her own person. Emma Stone is amazing – Emma Watson is also fantastic but in her own way. Both are charismatic, entertaining performers with a hell of a lot of talent and personality – I can happily admit that. My main reason for writing, then, is to state that neither deserves the comparison: it’s unfair on their careers. Please just appreciate them for who they are, don’t let this get in the way of what is going to be a couple of brilliant films released in the next few months.

In this case, you can have your cake and eat it – since both are getting a film, and both will be great, under the direction of brilliant directors. To say anything otherwise is to lose sight of the fact that there is so much talent out there. Please stop comparing them, and instead just enjoy the films.

Emma Watson Joins Greta Gerwig’s Adaptation of Little Women [Variety]

Sian Francis Cox
Sian is Flixist’s UK Editor and has written for sites including Escapist Magazine, Destructoid, and Film Enthusiast.