Margaret, Nancy, Gretchen, and Janie.
Do those names all together ring a bell?
What if I add a few hints like, “When can I get my first bra,” and “When will I get my first period?”
If you’re 40-something, I guarantee you know exactly what I’m referring to, and I bet just the thought of Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, the classic tale of puberty and tween angst, brings with it a flood of middle school memories and late 70s, early 80s nostalgia.
Blume’s coming of age novel is coming to the big screen
Finally, and I say that as in, FIIIIIINNNNNAAALLLLLY, Blume’s coming of age novel about our favorite wisdom seeking 12-year-old named Margaret, is coming to the big screen. All I can say is, “What the heck took so long?” because in a sea of teen/tween movies over the last few decades, there has yet to be one that strikes a chord with young girls as deeply and profoundly as this one book managed to do, and still does, since it was first published in 1970.
I mean, as a young girl, who didn’t crave a secret club called the Four PTS’s (four pre-teen sensations) where you could gossip about boys, periods, bras, and do exercises together to increase your bust line? (Incidentally, I think this kind of secret support group should now exist for middle aged women. We could keep the PTS acronym, except now it would stand for Peri-menopausal and Tense Sisters.)
Blume has turned down offers and resisted selling the rights to bring her time-honored novel to movie theaters for years, but recently has had a change of heart, citing the fact she finally feels she has found the right group of people to transform Margaret’s story from page to screen. And just who are the lucky folks that get the privilege of bringing us all back to that infamous New Jersey suburb named Farbrook?
It’s the same writer/director/producer team that brought us the film The Edge of Seventeen, which Blume found to be a wonderful adaptation of the novel.
With a $30 million dollar budget, Lionsgate has committed to producing the film, along with Kelly Fremon Craig, who will be directing her original screen adaptation of the novel, and James L. Brooks producing.
Judy Blume finally found the right people to bring the book to the screen
Both visited Blume at her Key West home to start the convincing when the author started hinting on social media that she may be ready to finally see her infamous narrative come to life. Blume said,
I knew when I met Kelly and Jim I was incredibly lucky to have them heading up Team Margaret. With Lionsgate’s early and continued enthusiasm for the project we all feel Margaret has found the right home. After 50 years it’s about time!Judy Blume
To ensure they sealed the deal and woo Blume in the most creative of ways, Lionsgate executives transformed an entire conference room into an 11-year-old girls’ bedroom, as an homage to Margaret and the perfect setting to pitch the deal. Female execs even included pictures of themselves as 11-year-old girls, and shared how the book framed their adolescence, and helped them navigate the rough waters of puberty, female friendship, and connections between mothers and daughters.
Lionsgate President of Production Erin Westerman stated,
This title was an anthem when we first read it as teens, and it remains timeless and relevant because nothing has captured the coming-of-age experience with the same authenticity, truth and respect.
Together [Brooks, Fremon] they delivered an adaptation that captures all the scope and potential of the title; the themes of identity, loneliness, confidence and kindness are urgent, ageless and more necessary today than ever before. We are honored they heard our passion and have chosen Lionsgate as their home. This will be the movie event of the year for women and girls. And you know what? Men will love it too!erin westerman,Lionsgate President of Production
So just who are the lucky stars that will portray Margaret, her mom, and her grandma? Well for starters we know Rachel McAdams has been cast as Margaret’s mom, and the legendary Kathy Bates will be portraying her grandma. Margaret will be played by the young actress Abby Forston who you may know from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
No release dates have been shared, but I plan on making it a fabulous “Moms Night Out” event when it hits my theatre, and along with my midlife friends, we may even start chanting, “We must, we must, we must increase our busts!” in the theater lobby!
And finally, a heartfelt thanks to Judy, for all you’ve done for all the little girls who grew up with their noses stuck in your books.
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