Louisa May Alcott, famed author of the 19th-century coming-of-age classic Little Women, had her lead character—and avatar—Josephine “Jo” March marry at the end of the book.
But that was not the fate for Alcott herself. The author never married or had children, a factoid that always piques the interest of queer people when they read it in the “Personal Life” section of a notable figure’s Wikipedia page.
Logo and NewNowNext recently sat down with Little Women director Greta Gerwig and actor Timothée Chalamet—who plays neighbor Theodore “Laurie” Laurence—to gauge their thoughts on Alcott’s sexuality.
“Oh, there’s all kinds of interesting things there,” Gerwig reveals when asked what she discovered about the author during her research.
“I’m hesitant to apply a 21st-century lens onto it because, what is it to have feelings before [gender] category?” she continues. “[Jo] does say the whole book she wants to be a boy. And [Alcott] wrote a line in a letter that said, ’I believe I am a man in a woman’s body, for I fall in love with half a dozen pretty girls and I have never felt that for a man.'”
The Oscar-nominated screenwriter and director also says that she finds it fascinating when “life can be more progressive than art.”
Alcott died from a stroke in 1888 at the age of 55, but her literary classic would go on to inspire a plethora of film and television adaptations—including Gerwig’s Little Women, which hits theaters nationwide December 25.
Watch Logo and NewNowNext’s video interview below for Gerwig’s full thoughts on the beloved author’s queer appeal.