The trials and tribulations of sixth-grader Margaret Simon are finally going from page to screen in the Lionsgate adaptation of Judy Blume’s classic novel, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” First published back in 1970, Blume spent decades resisting offers for adaptation. But now, the coming-of-age tale finally has a theatrical release date. Per Deadline, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” arrives early this fall on September 16, 2022.
“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” stars Abby Ryder Forston as Margaret, a sixth-grade girl going through puberty and searching the universe for answers to life’s biggest and smallest questions. Rachel McAdams stars as her mom, Barbra, with Benny Safdie as Margaret’s dad and Kathy Bates as her grandmother. The story follows Margaret after a big move from the city to the suburbs, as she navigates the typical troubles of growing up — first crushes, buying a bra, school anxieties, and more. Plus, with parents who are Christian and Jewish, she finds herself on a quest to discover her religious identity. The film comes from director Kelly Fremon Craig and producer, James L. Brooks, the team behind “The Edge of Seventeen.”
In the age of adaptations, it’s surprising to realize that so few Judy Blume novels have found a second life on the big screen — not that they need it. Her very notable bibliography includes a number of titles that remain hugely popular with budding readers today, including “Blubber,” “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing,” “Tiger Eyes” and, of course, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” The latter was a particularly memorable literary sensation, for its groundbreaking and frank discussion of sexuality, religion, and puberty.
Blume has long been opposed to screen adaptations of her seminal work. In fact, for the first 49 years after its publication, she rejected several offers for her famed novel to be adapted and it wasn’t until 2018 that the rights were granted to Brooks and Craig. The upcoming film comes with Blume’s blessing, especially the casting, which she praised when McAdams and Fortson’s roles were first announced:
“Abby is funny and tender, strong yet vulnerable. She IS Margaret. And Rachel — wow! — does it get any better? A funny, loving, sexy, real woman who is also a mom. I can’t wait to see these two playing mother and daughter. It all began with trusting Kelly and Jim and they’ve proven how much this project means to them, which means everything to me.”
“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” filmed last year, after Lionsgate won the film rights in an early 2020 auction and greenlit the feature with a $30M production cost.