Columbia film crews arrived Tuesday to begin the transformation for the scene “Paris Carriage Ride.” Paved roads magically turned to dirt lined with antique gas lanterns and iron filigree park furniture, and traveled by horse-drawn carriages. On Wednesday, costumed men wearing top hats and ladies in Victorian petticoat dresses strolled along the tree-lined path.
“It’s possible to imagine Louisa May Alcott walking here,” said Friedman. “Creating a backdrop for something as wonderful as this book is extraordinary.
“It’s the moment, the historical nature, it’s a magical mix.”
Filming lasted one day and took place on a segment of Meadow Road. On hand were the film’s director and writer, Greta Gerwig, and stars Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet, and Florence Pugh. The Arboretum is one of several locations in the Boston area being used as set pieces for the movie.
“We are honored and thrilled to be filming ‘Little Women’ in the beautiful Arnold Arboretum, a great Boston treasure since the days of Louisa May Alcott,” said Amy Pascal, the film’s producer.
“Little Women” is the first movie to be filmed at the Arnold Arboretum, which was established in 1872. Friedman said the story speaks to Harvard’s and the Arboretum’s values — aspects of inclusion and diversity, and the eternal quest to achieve one’s aspirations. It not only examines the period when the Alcott family was exploring how to educate, but also a time of great social change — a time when, like today, questions about women and empowerment resonated, he said.