Rachel McAdams, Abby Ryder to star in Judy Blume’s ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ for Lionsgate
Lionsgate announced on Friday that 12-year-old Abby Ryder Fortson, best-known for her scene-stealing performances in Marvel’s Ant-Man series, will play Margaret Simon and Academy Award nominee Rachel McAdams will play Margaret’s mother, Barbara, in the studio’s highly anticipated adaptation of Judy Blume’s classic novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. The announcement was made today by Erin Westerman, Lionsgate’s president of Production.
The film, which begins production in April, is written and will be directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, who is re-teaming with legendary Academy Award-winning producer James L. Brooks and his Gracie Films banner, following their collaboration on the acclaimed film The Edge of Seventeen. Julie Ansell, Richard Sakai, Amy Brooks, Fremon Craig, and Blume will join Brooks as producers.
A best-selling and beloved classic that has transcended decades and been embraced by generations as they approach adolescence comes to the big screen with Lionsgate’s adaptation of Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. In this timeless, coming-of-age story, Margaret Simon, a sixth grader who is questioning everything about adolescence and puberty, is searching the universe for whatever answers she can find. With her mother and grandmother trying to guide her through a time when everything is changing, they too find that you never stop questioning your path and defining what is meaningful in your life. From writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig (The Edge of Seventeen) and Gracie Films’ Academy Award-winning producer James L. Brooks comes a new movie for everyone who has ever wanted to fit in or felt left out. You are not alone.
Fortson’s character, Margaret, is one of the true beacons of young people’s literature. Since its publication in 1970, Blume’s frank, loving narrative has struck a chord with generations of readers, and the book was on Time magazine’s list of the top 100 works of fiction since 1923. (As a special badge of honor, the book and its legion of fans have also beaten back several attempts to ban it from libraries over the years.) For decades, Blume has famously refused adaptations of her published work, especially Margaret; after changing her mind recently, she sparked to the filmmaking team led by Brooks and Fremon Craig.
Fremon Craig said, “Abby is the kind of extraordinarily rare talent that comes along once a generation. The minute she walked in the room, she knocked us off our feet with her humor, vitality, and instantly lovable presence. We knew we’d found Margaret. Together with Rachel McAdams’ exceptional talent for creating indelible characters that make you laugh out loud, bawl your eyes out, or both — there couldn’t be a better combination to bring Judy Blume’s much-beloved characters to life on screen.”
Westerman said, “The reason Margaret has struck a chord for fifty years is that her emotions are universal and timeless. Abby is an accomplished and gifted actress, but after reading many young actresses it was clear to us that Abby IS Margaret – she has, innately, the same wit, sincerity, and relatability as our heroine and will make Judy Blume proud. We’re thrilled that she’ll be paired opposite Rachel McAdams as Barbara, Margaret’s mother and a woman navigating her own place in the world. Rachel has a resume filled with iconic characters and with every warm, vulnerable performance, she cracks the audience open. As Barbara, generations of mothers – who rarely see themselves depicted holistically and authentically – will see themselves in her portrayal.”
Judy Blume added, “As the cast comes together my excitement grows. 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.”
Meredith Wieck and Chelsea Kujawa are overseeing the project for the studio.
Photo credits: AP / Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP