EXCLUSIVE: Lea Thompson, who just came off a successful run on ABC’s Freeform series Switched at Birth, has signed on to a modern adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott novel Little Women to play the lead role of family matriarch Marmee. Joining Thompson will be her Switched at Birth colleague and High School Musical alum Lucas Grabeel who will play Laurie.
The independent feature, which marks the directorial debut for Clare Niederpruem, is a co-production and will be co-financed by Paulist Productions and Main Dog Productions with principal photography commencing in Utah in June. The movie will be released theatrically in 2018, which marks the 150th anniversary of the classic novel.
Thompson will star as the mother who helps her daughters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy navigate the struggles and heartbreaks of adolescence and adulthood.
Niederpruem co-wrote the script with her writing partner Kristi Shimek for Paulist Productions’ Chris Donahue and Marybeth Sprows who will produce alongside Main Dog Productions’ Maclain Nelson and Stephen Shimek.
Sprows sought out a partnership with Nelson after seeing the theatrical success of his last two independent features, Once I Was a Beehive and the Saratov Approach, which was distributed Purdie Distribution.
Paulist Productions adds Little Women to a very active slate with multiple projects in various stages of production, including Every Other Holiday which begins production later this year and is the first of three films in a co-financing and co-production pact with MarVista Entertainment.
Paulist is also in development on The Innocence of Joan Little with Will Packer Productions, a television mini-series, based on the book of the same name by journalist James Reston, Jr.
Thompson is represented by Innovative Artists and Gilbertson Entertainment; Grabeel by LINK Entertainment, the Kohner Agency and attorney Fred Toczek. Niederpruem and Nelson are repped by David Clark at LAConFab Entertainment.