Writer-director Greta Gerwig's adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic 1868 novel also features Timothée Chalamet, Meryl Streep and Laura Dern

By Justin Curto Kara Warner
August 13, 2019 12:00 PM

Great Gerwig’s starry take on Little Women is months away from coming out — but the just-released trailer hints that fans of the beloved novel are in for something special.

Based on Louisa May Alcott’s coming-of-age classic, the film stars Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Emma Watson, Meryl Streep and Laura Dern, plus two rising stars, Eliza Scanlen (HBO’s Sharp Objects) and Florence Pugh (Midsommar).

Ronan, 25, plays the second-eldest of the March sisters, Jo, who in the trailer revisits experiences with her family for a book she hopes to get published. Watson, 29, is the eldest of the March sisters and aspiring actress Meg, while Scanlen, 20, and Pugh, 23, play younger sisters Beth and Amy. Chalamet, 23, plays Jo’s love interest Laurie. Dern, 52, is their caring mother, Marnee, and Streep, 70, is their sharp-tongued and old-fashioned Aunt March.

“Women have minds and they have souls, as well as just hearts,” Jo says in an impassioned monologue at the end of the trailer. “And they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty. I’m so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for, I’m so sick of it!”

RELATED: Emma Watson Goes Back in Time for Little Women with Meryl Streep — Here’s Everything We Know

“We wanted it to feel like the movie feels, which is both classical and fresh,” writer/director Gerwig, 36, tells PEOPLE and EW exclusively about crafting the first trailer for the anticipated Christmas release. “But it’s really about these characters and these relationships that have meant so much to me. And then it’s also infused with this mutual energy and this exuberance. And I think that that’s what the actors brought to the film and that’s what cinematography captured.”

Gerwig continues: “We wanted it to feel light on its feet. And even though it does take place in the 19th Century we in no way wanted it to feel like it was something that was past. We wanted it to feel like it was present right now.”

Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan and Eliza Scanlen in Vanity Fair's first look at Little Women.
Wilson Webb/Columbia Pictures

Vanity Fair released the first official shots from the movie in July, after the cast was seen filming in Harvard, Massachusetts, in November 2018.

“It gives gravity to what you’re doing,” Ronan told VF of shooting on location in Massachusetts. “The physical place really reminds you of the story you’re trying to tell.”

This is Ronan and Chalamet’s second film together with Gerwig after starring in her 2017 hit Lady Bird, which garnered five Oscar nominations including best actress for Ronan. (Streep and Dern also recently worked together on Big Little Lies season 2.)

“I loved that in Lady Bird, he was the one that broke my heart, but I got to break his heart in Little Women,” Ronan added of working with Chalamet once again.

RELATED: Before and After: See a 13 Year-Old Saoirse Ronan at Her First Oscars in 2008!

Watson also shared photos of the cast on Instagram during filming in December 2018. “I could never love anyone as I love my sisters,” she captioned one, quoting Alcott.

Gerwig’s film adaptation of Alcott’s classic is the eighth overall. Previous film adaptations of Alcott’s novel have starred Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Winona Ryder, among others. The last came out September 2018 to celebrate the book’s 150th anniversary. It’s also been adapted into four BBC miniseries, multiple stage plays, a stage musical, an opera and a TV musical.

Little Women opens in theaters Dec. 25.

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