Fun fact: As a child, author Simone de Beauvoir pretended she was Jo.
Beth is the sweet peacemaker of the sisters. She’s shy but intelligent, and intervenes when her feisty sisters fight. When Beth becomes sick with scarlet fever, her illness has a significant impact on Jo.
Who’s playing her? Eliza Scanlen is an up-and-coming Aussie star who had a recurring role on Home and Away as Tabitha Ford. In an interview with Empire magazine, Eliza said that if her character were a modern-day woman, “She’d live by the vegan philosophy and spend her free time running a dairy- and egg-free cupcake stall at the weekend farmers’ market.”
Fun fact: Claire Danes, little known at the time, played Beth in Gillian Armstrong’s version.
The oldest of the sisters, Meg is the one who looks out for her siblings. Unlike her strong-willed sister Jo, she doesn’t strive for independence and is destined to be a wife and mother.
Who’s playing her? In the role is fiercely feminist Emma Watson (bottom right). Meg isn’t typically regarded in the same way but Emma believes she should be. “With Meg’s character, her way of being a feminist is making the choice,” she told British Vogue. “Because that’s really, for me anyway, what feminism is about.”
Fun fact: Janet Leigh, most famous as the shower-taker in Psycho, played Meg in a 1949 version.
Amy is the baby of the family. She can come across as self-centred and has been labelled the least likeable sister.
Who’s playing her? Florence Pugh, who earned a BAFTA nomination for her role in the 2016 production, Lady Macbeth. Speaking about Amy, Florence told Teen Vogue, “There’s something so amazing about being bratty and saying it how it is and coming out with these horrendous lines that would just sting someone. It’s like, gosh, yeah, that’s rude. But realistically, she’s saying the truth, and how wonderful would it be to be honest?”
Fun fact: In the 1933 version, Joan Bennett played a 12-year-old Amy at the age of 23 – while pregnant!
This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale December 15.
Genevieve Quigley is Head of Parenting & Lifestyle at Fairfax Media.