Update 2/19/21: LIONSGATE Films just announced that Abby Ryder Fortson ("Ant Man", "A Dog's Journey") has been cast as Margaret and Rachel McAdams will play her mom in the book's upcoming film adaptation. Production begins in April.
If you are a woman of a certain age, Judy Blume’s book “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret” holds a special place for you. It’s probably the place you learned about bras, periods and boys. It was a controversial book when it was published in 1970, and you might have even had to hide the book under your mattress or in your desk as it got passed around in school.
Fifty years later, the book still resonates with so many, and coming soon, we’ll be able to share the movie with our daughters and granddaughters. Judy Blume has given the go-ahead for her novel to be adapted by James L. Brooks and Kelly Fremon Craig. The pair previously collaborated on “The Edge of Seventeen,” with both writing and producing and Fremon Craig directing. Fremon Craig is set to direct this film as well, and Lionsgate will help bring the project to life.
Just like in the book, the story with follow sixth-grader Margaret, who’s on the cusp of puberty, obsessed with boys, when she will need a bra and when she will get her period, which she asks God repeatedly. She forms a secret club to discuss all these new changes with a group of girls, plus she’s trying to navigate her mixed-faith homelife, including Christian grandparents who don’t approve of her Jewish father.
Fremon Craig has fond memories of the book from her own tween years. “It is this right of passage for women and girls,” she told Deadline. “It’s rare for me to run into a woman or girl who hasn’t read it, and every time I’ve mentioned it to a woman, they clutch their heart and let out this joyful gasp. There’s something so timely and full of truth, and I remember for me that at that age, it felt like a life raft at a time when you’re lost and searching and unsure. This book comes along and tells you you’re not alone."
Blume has been notoriously protective of her books, and has resisted adapting them. Only “Forever” (1978) and “Tiger Eyes” (2012) have been made into films at this point, with her son Lawrence helming the later film. "Superfudge" was also adapted into a TV series named “Fudge” that ran for two seasons.
In 2018, Blume tweeted that she was taking meetings in LA, and she wanted to know what her fans would like to see. “I think the time has come,” she said, hinting that adaptations of her works were suddenly a possibility.
Fremon Craig had just re-read the book after discussing it with Amy Brooks (James’ daughter), whose 10-year old had just read the book. She felt the tweet was serendipitous and quickly wrote a letter to Blume telling her how much the book meant to her.
Blume, in turn, wrote back to Fremon Craig, saying, “If someone were to make a film of one of her books, she hoped it would have the same tone and feeling that 'The Edge of Seventeen' had."
Once the script is complete, the search will be underway for the perfect Margaret. Hopefully we won’t need to wait too much longer, as 50 years has been long enough of a wait already.