ABC Plots 'Little Women' Limited Series Starring Natascha McElhone (Exclusive)

Julie Anne Robinson is attached to direct and produce
Natascha McElhone  AP Images/Invision

ABC is bringing Little Women back to the small screen.

The network is teaming with Natascha McElhone to develop a modern take on Louisa May Alcott's classic novel, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. ABC has handed out a script commitment to the project.

From ABC Signature, ABC Studios' boutique division, the new take follows the lives of four sisters — coming of age against the backdrop of a military scandal as their family loses its fortune and position — who find themselves at odds with the conservative and traditional society in which they live.

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McElhone (Californication) will star in and executive produce Little Women, which is envisioned as an event/limited series. Big Hero 6's Jordan Roberts will pen the new script and exec produce. McElhone will exec produce alongside Julie Anne Robinson, Essential Media's Simonne Overend (Rake) and Ruby Films' Alison Owen (Temple Grandin). The drama hails from Robinson's ABC Studios-based Canny Lad Productions. Robinson will also direct Little Women.  

ABC's take marks the latest small-screen Little Women adaptation. The BBC took on the story twice in the 1950s and again in the 1970s. The iconic book was adapted twice as an animated series in the '80s. On the big screen, the most recent take came in 1994 and starred Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Kirsten Dunst and Christian Bale. Previous feature adaptation casts have included Meredith Baxter (1978), Elizabeth Taylor (1949) and Katharine Hepburn (1933). Version were also released in 1917 and 1918. 

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For Robinson, this marks the Golden Globe-nominated director (Suburgatory) and BAFTA winner's third sale of the season. She's also teaming with Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers' Shondaland banner for drama The Long Game at ABC as well as with Amblin TV for No Angels. Robinson is repped by UTA, 3 Arts, Independent Talent Group and Sloane Offer.

For McElhone, the role would mark her TV follow-up to Showtime's Californication. Her credits also include The Other Boleyn Girl as well as Revelations and The Company. She's repped by Paradigm, Mosaic and Myman Abel.

Roberts is repped by CAA and March Gochman.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit

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