"ICE CREAM TRUCK! ICE CREAM TRUCK!"

LITTLE WOMEN (2019)

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. OLD-TIMEY STOREFRONT OFFICE

WRITER/DIRECTOR GRETA GERWIG hands her SCREENPLAY to PRODUCER AMY PASCAL.

WRITER/DIRECTOR GRETA GERWIG

(wearing a jaunty hat)

Here it is! The movie that will cement my legacy as the defining female filmmaker of our time!

PRODUCER AMY PASCAL

(has bushy white muttonchops)

(go ahead, picture it)

This isn't going to be another story about an overly idealistic young creative heroine who's suspiciously similar to your other heroines, is it?

WRITER/DIRECTOR GRETA GERWIG

No.

(pauses)

Kind of.

PRODUCER AMY PASCAL

Look, Greta, we all praised every other movie you've written to the skies for some reason. But now that you've escaped Joe Swanberg's shadow, it might be time to consider mixing it up a little.

WRITER/DIRECTOR GRETA GERWIG

But I did! This has innovative storytelling techniques like time jumps and framing devices!

PRODUCER AMY PASCAL

...Okay, I'm listening.

WRITER/DIRECTOR GRETA GERWIG

AND it's an adaptation of a 19th-century cultural property that's already been adapted to death, including one version last year!

PRODUCER AMY PASCAL

Excellent. Go on.

WRITER/DIRECTOR GRETA GERWIG

And you know how my other movies were at least a little bit relatable to modern women dealing with student loans and rental costs and unpaid internships and other way-too-real stuff? THIS one is about period women torn between pursuing a pipe dream and marrying a rich guy!

PRODUCER AMY PASCAL

So it presents the safest possible version of feminism that only the worst troglodytes could object to?

WRITER/DIRECTOR GRETA GERWIG

Yes. The version that says "Women can do stuff."

PRODUCER AMY PASCAL

(snaps her clerk over)

Cratchit, take a letter. The world must know that we've found the next Green Book.

INT. GENTEEL POVERTY

SAOIRSE RONAN sits around with her sisters, EMMA WATSON, FLORENCE PUGH, and ELIZA SCANLEN.

FLORENCE PUGH

(vainly/artistically)

Is this where we sit around and openly state our personalities and talents as if they won't be revealed on their own?

SAOIRSE RONAN

(spiritedly/bookishly)

Yes, but we'll do it SUPER-FAST so nobody but a nitpicky Abridged Script author notices!

EMMA WATSON

(maturely/theatrically)

I do hope this doesn't make anyone else realize how badly written the opening of the book was.

ELIZA SCANLEN

(placidly/musically)

This is fine.

Their mother, LAURA DERN, enters.

LAURA DERN

Girls, I've decided we're going to pack up our humble Christmas breakfast and give it to a family who lives in actual, uncomfortable, non-genteel poverty. That may feel like a letdown at first, but rich Mr. Cooper next door will admire us so much for our generosity that he'll reward us with a giant display of candy and cupcakes normally seen at the tackiest of bridal showers.

FLORENCE PUGH

Really? What's he going to give to the actual poor family?

LAURA DERN

Just because they're in the movie doesn't mean they matter, dear.

After patting themselves on the BACKS all morning, they go to visit CHRIS COOPER in his 47-BEDROOM HOUSE ARE YOU SHITTING ME ZILLOW.

CHRIS COOPER

(consults flash cards)

Okay, so... Saoirse's the mouthy one, Florence is the snotty one, Emma's the blank slate, and not appearing in this scene is Eliza, who is...

(checks)

Um... she is...

EMMA WATSON

The one who dies, yes.

CHRIS COOPER

Oh. You knew that.

FLORENCE PUGH

It would be pretty amazing if we got through life not once hearing that Beth dies. JOEY knew that.

CHRIS COOPER

Well, if you ever need a fill-in in case she dramatically collapses or coughs up a gallon of blood, you can always borrow my grandson, Timothée Chalamet. It's just been us two and his tutor James Norton around here, and it's pretty dull without you girls to light up the room with your meticulously choreographed crosstalk.

TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET

Plus we have everything in this giant house to satisfy each of your one interests! We've got books for Saoirse, paintings for Florence, a piano for Eliza...

JAMES NORTON

...and a greenhouse for Emma!

SISTERS

(actual thing that happens)

(look at him like he just shat on the carpet)

CHRIS COOPER

Don't be stupid, James. The flash cards say nothing about Emma being into botany.

SAOIRSE RONAN

Oh thank God he's so dumb. If Emma likes him too much, she might want to leave her family. And nothing is more important to me than all of us sisters staying together.

FLORENCE PUGH

Actually, I think--

SAOIRSE RONAN

EXCEPT YOU FUCK YOU RIGHT IN THE FACE

(goes to a play with TIMOTHÉE, EMMA, and JAMES but not FLORENCE)

FLORENCE PUGH

YEAH WELL FUCK YOU RIGHT IN THE WORDS

(burns SAOIRSE's novel)

SAOIRSE RONAN

OH IS IT GONNA BE LIKE THAT THEN FUCK YOU RIGHT IN THE BODY TEMPERATURE

(almost lets FLORENCE drown in an icy lake)

LAURA DERN

Wow, you two are the WORST.

SAOIRSE RONAN

We really, really are. Sorry I got so angry, Mom.

LAURA DERN

Hey, it's cool.

(actual line)

I’m angry nearly every day of my life.

SAOIRSE RONAN

About what? The war? Two of your daughters being mildly psychotic? Your husband’s financial incompetence, a well-documented issue in the Alcott family that we'll only touch on once?

LAURA DERN

No, I’m just a naturally angry person, I guess.

SAOIRSE RONAN

Okay... so what are you going to do with that repressed anger? Shape up your daughters? Shape up your husband? Campaign against slavery and for women’s suffrage, also well-documented activities of Louisa May Alcott’s mother?

LAURA DERN

No, I’m just going to smile and be pleasant and maybe do some charity for like 30 seconds.

SAOIRSE RONAN

Just... WHAT?!

LAURA DERN

I know. It’s not fair at all that Greta can only flesh out characters who remind her of herself women are expected to smile and be pleasant.

INT. AUNT MERYL'S HOUSE

SAOIRSE visits the girls' aunt, MERYL STREEP.

MERYL STREEP

Have I mentioned how much I love money and hate literally everything else?

SAOIRSE RONAN

Yes. 27 times since breakfast.

MERYL STREEP

Well, you'd better start feeling the same way, Saoirse. Since your father sucks so much as a provider that you only have one housemaid, one of your girls will have to support the family. And if you can't figure out how to be a man-trap here, maybe I ought to take you to Europe.

SAOIRSE RONAN

EUROPE?! How wonderful!

(punches boys)

(lets skirt catch fire multiple times)

(dances like a toddler who just heard "Turn Down for What" for the first time)

MERYL STREEP

Ugh, never mind. I'm taking Florence. THAT girl knows the importance of marrying rich.

SAOIRSE RONAN

How do we know that? Because she'll flat-out tell us. Because there are vegan pro-life Peloton owners who are less obvious than this screenplay.

MERYL takes FLORENCE with her to PARIS, where she learns how to be an ACCOMPLISHED WOMAN.

MERYL STREEP

Have I mentioned how much I love money and hate literally everything else, including everything in Paris?

FLORENCE PUGH

YES, Aunt Meryl. And before you ask, yes, I still know the importance of marrying rich.

MERYL STREEP

So you can support your family.

FLORENCE PUGH

No, so you'll put a sock in it.

MERYL STREEP

That'll do.

INT. EMMA'S WEDDING DAY

EMMA happily gets dressed for her first COACHELLA.

SAOIRSE RONAN

Emma, serious question: Why James? Wasn’t your motivation also to marry rich and have an easier life than the one you were born into?

EMMA WATSON

Yes, but I love James so. No one smiles awkwardly and makes boring small talk at me like he does.

SAOIRSE RONAN

But wouldn’t life be so much more fun if I earned all the money and you pursued an acting career that never interested you until I decided it should and we clung to each other like shit on velvet for the rest of our lives?

EMMA WATSON

...No. No, it would not. In fact, your attachment to your siblings just went from "a little much" to "bring in the men in white coats."

SAOIRSE RONAN

Oh, come on. It's not like Greta kept that line about how I wished I could marry you instead.

EMMA WATSON

Yeah, that was fucking weird... But I'd still like to get away from you.

She and JAMES get married and move into a HOUSE about 100 YARDS away from her CHILDHOOD HOME.

EMMA WATSON

I want a pretty dress.

JAMES NORTON

We can't afford it. Sorry.

EMMA WATSON

That's okay.

A brief SILENCE falls.

EMMA WATSON

Sorry, I was told characters other than Saoirse had more of a story in this version. I think I actually have less of one now.

JAMES NORTON

We can’t afford that, either.

EXT. GORGEOUS NEW ENGLAND COUNTRYSIDE

SAOIRSE and TIMOTHÉE go for a WALK.

SAOIRSE RONAN

Welp, now that Emma's married and Florence is overseas, this whole family togetherness thing is kind of shot to hell. I think I'll break the mold and go to New York to be a writer.

TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET

Please. If Canadian literature is anything to go by, you're going to BE the mold soon. How about...

(points thumbs at self)

SAOIRSE RONAN

Oh crap.

TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET

Yup. Marry me.

SAOIRSE RONAN

Look, Timothée, I'm just not feeling any sparks here...

TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET

I am.

SAOIRSE RONAN

I really value our friendship and I wouldn't want to mess that up...

TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET

I would.

SAOIRSE RONAN

You're like a brother to me...

TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET

That doesn't stop anyone in Missouri.

SAOIRSE RONAN

Okay, you asked for it. You have the muscle tone of chewed sugarfree gum and I'm pretty sure I could crush your head by squeezing it between my thumb and index finger. And nobody--not my family, not your grandfather, not generations of disappointed readers--is going to convince me that we'd make a decent married couple just because THEY keep smashing our faces together like Ken and Barbie dolls. All right?

Depressed, TIMOTHÉE joins FLORENCE in PARIS.

TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET

I just realized that you're mildly better-looking than Saoirse. If you married me, you'd have a rich husband AND you'd really stick it to her.

FLORENCE PUGH

Forget it. I'm not going to marry you just because you're rich.

TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET

But I thought--

FLORENCE PUGH

NOR am I going to marry you just because you're Saoirse's sloppy seconds.

TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET

But... we never got sloppy...

FLORENCE PUGH

I said not JUST. I'm going to marry you because I really dig the chewed-gum look.

INT. ELIZA'S ROOM

ELIZA lives with her DOLLS and her STORYBOOKS and her KITTENS in a CHILDLIKE STATE that would make MOST PARENTS start casually researching ASD SYMPTOMS.

ELIZA SCANLEN

(happily)

This is fine.

But suddenly she falls ill with BEING TOO GOOD FOR THIS SINFUL EARTH! SAOIRSE rushes back home to be by her SIDE.

SAOIRSE RONAN

Eliza! Is it time for the death everyone should have seen coming even if they really hadn't ever heard that Beth dies?

ELIZA SCANLEN

(weakly)

This is fine.

SAOIRSE RONAN

But you always wanted to live out the rest of your life as a developmentally arrested shut-in! And now you won't even have the chance to do that!

ELIZA SCANLEN

(deliriously)

This is fine...

SAOIRSE RONAN

FOR GOD'S SAKE WILL YOU PLEASE HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT SOMETHING?!

ELIZA SCANLEN

(sits up and looks directly into camera)

Okay. This is NOT FINE. It is not fine at all that my only role in this story is to passively accept everything that happens around me. If your approach really was innovative, you would have given ME some dimension too. But, no, I'm "a dear and nothing else" and then I'm nothing at all, just like in every other version of this story. Well, I deserved better, and Emma deserved better, and Laura deserved better, and you did us DIRTY, Saoirse--I mean, Louisa--I mean, Greta--Christ, I can't even tell where one of you ends and the next one begins, and that's not the fever talking. See all three of you in hell.

(dies)

SAOIRSE RONAN

GAAAAAHHHHH!!!

This TRAGEDY inspires her to write a new STORY in honor of the sister who taught her the importance of LOVE and FLUSHING YOUR HOPES AND DREAMS DOWN THE SHITTER AS SOON AS THEY BECOME PLOT-INCONVENIENT.

INT. NEW YORK BOARDING HOUSE

SAOIRSE sits with fellow boarder LOUIS GARREL.

SAOIRSE RONAN

So I'm writing this novel about a woman who accidentally marries Satan and speeds across Europe in a variety of disguises to get away from him.

LOUIS GARREL

That is... just... holy shit that sounds AWESOME, why isn't anyone making THAT film adaptation?

(coughs)

What I mean is, I think it's pulpy and silly and people will take you a lot more seriously if you stick with that other novel you're writing about your own life.

SAOIRSE RONAN

But I'm only writing that novel for money. Which is weird when you consider how often we hear that stories for girls don't sell. I don't actually like writing it; I think some omniscient woman with a bad haircut is moving my arm from beyond the physical plane.

LOUIS GARREL

Saoirse, you ARE a girl. Girls should write stories for girls and those girls should read stories by girls because there's no way girls would ever dislike stories by and for girls.

SAOIRSE RONAN

That's ridiculous. Writers should always focus on what energizes them the most. No matter what that is, it'll always turn out to be the best work they can--

PUBLISHER TRACY LETTS

You, girl! My girls want to know what happens to your girls!

SAOIRSE RONAN

Oh fuck it.

She finishes the NOVEL she doesn't actually care about that builds up to the ENDING she never had in mind, which explains A LOT when you think about it.

END

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