Judy Blume‘s classic novel, Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, is finally coming to the big screen. It took almost 50 years until the iconic YA author sold the rights to her beloved 1970 book to producer James L. Brooks and writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig in 2018. The duo created the film adaption with Lionsgate and fans are so excited to see the coming-of-age story about a young girl without a religious affiliation play out in movie theaters. The first trailer for the film came out January 12 and it looks so epic.
Judy’s novel takes place in the ’70s and is about a sixth-grade girl, named Margaret Simon, and her family who move from New York City to the New Jersey suburbs. Margaret contends with growing up without a religions affiliation since her parents have an interfaith marriage. The film adaption is expected to tell the same story as the novel.
From the release date to the cast, and more, here’s everything you need to know about Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, the movie.
Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret will be released in theaters on April 28, 2023. The film was originally scheduled to come out on September 16, 2022, but it was delayed by seven months. Filming took place in North Carolina from April to July 2021.
— lionsgate (@Lionsgate) January 12, 2023
Lionsgate released the trailer on January 12, over three months ahead of the film’s theatrical release. The trailer opens with Margaret and her family moving out of NYC. “Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret,” the sixth-grader says, as she adjusts to life in suburban NJ. Margaret asks to be “normal and just like everybody else.” Margaret deals with a crisis of faith as experiences major teenage moments, like buying a bra.
Margaret’s mother, Barbara Simon, also has a hard time adjusting to her new life. “It gets tiring, trying so hard all the time, doesn’t it?” Barbara says to Margaret.
Cast & Crew
Abby Ryder Forston stars as Margaret Simon. She notably played Cassie Lang in the first two Ant-Man films. Rachel McAdams and Benny Safdie star as Margaret’s parents, Barbara (who is Christian) and Herb (who is Jewish). Kathy Bates stars as Margaret’s grandmother, Sylvia. Other cast members include Gary Houston, Mila Dillon, Elle Graham, Amari Alexis Price, and Katherine Kupferer.
Rachel McAdams spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about what drew her to playing Barbara. “I felt like Kelly [Fremon Craig, the director] drew a mother that was on a parallel journey with her daughter and trying to be a mom, but also be a person,” the Mean Girls star said. “[She] is a very supportive mother but also wants to give her child a sense of independence and autonomy and let her go through the wonders of life herself and not cloud those too much with her own ideas of how you should and should not be.”
Kelly Fremon Craig is the director and screenwriter of the film. She’s also a producer with others including Judy and James L. Brooks, who she previously worked with on the 2016 film The Edge of Seventeen. Other producers include Richard Sakai, Amy Brooks, and Julie Ansel. The crew is also made up of editors Oona Flaherty and Nick Moore, cinematographer Tom Ives, and music composer Hans Zimmer. Gracie Films produced the movie and Lionsgate is the distributor.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kelly reflected on when Judy agreed to surrender the rights to her book so a movie could be made. “She was very nervous that someone would turn the film into something very glossy and pretty, where all the edges were sanded off,” Kelly shared. “When I sat down with her, she had just seen my first film, The Edge of Seventeen, and she expressed that that made her feel confident that I was going to embrace all the flaws and nuances. That gave her confidence that the film would have the same honesty that she is so known for.”
How Close Will the Film Be to the Novel?
Kelly explained to EW why she kept the movie in the same era with the same story as Judy’s novel.
“While certain details have changed over the years, the experience of growing up is really universal,” she said. “It’s the same across the decades. There’s something about an 11-year-old or 12-year-old girl today, watching a girl in 1970 go through the exact same experience that she’s going through today. It feels so comforting to know that you’re part of a long lineage. It takes that ‘you’re not alone’ feeling and multiplies it exponentially. Because everyone every year before you has gone through this, and [they will] every year after.”
Rachel McAdams told THR that she has high hopes for the lessons that this movie can teach. “I hope there’s, above all, a feeling of togetherness and community and feeling, as women, like we’re all on the same team,” she explained. “That there’s nothing you can’t talk about with each other. And for men, too.” Rachel also said, “Movies are such a great way to get the ball rolling at the dinner table. I hope that it fosters conversation and a feeling of not being alone.”