‘Are you there, God? The director of “It’s Me, Margaret” on the pressure of adapting Judy Blume’s cult novel – Contenders Film LA

Kelly Fremon Craig, writer, director and producer Are you there God? It’s me, Małgorzatatalked about what inspired her to contact Judy Blume about adapting the beloved coming-of-age novel into a film.

At Saturday’s Deadline Contenders Film event in Los Angeles, Craig later said this The edge of seventeenshe thought about what awaited her next and thought about the authors who influenced her life.

“The first person that came to mind was Judy Blume,” she said during her film’s panel. “I mean, it really turned me into a reader and a writer. I started re-reading all of her books with the intention of adapting them.

Craig said that at the same time, Blume posted on social media that she had considered her book selections, but the only one she wouldn’t allow to be adapted was Are you there God? It’s me, Małgorzata.

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Craig then sent Blume an email, which she calls a “love letter.” “I just poured out my heart and told her how much her work meant to me,” the director said. “For as long as I can remember, she was the first person who spoke to me and made me feel, especially at that age, that I was not alone. Her writing is incredibly honest and I think that’s a huge gift at that age when you can really feel like you’re the only person in the world going through something.”

Producer Julie Ansell noted that it was important to them to “keep Julie Blume happy” with the adaptation.

“There was constant pressure on us throughout the entire filming process to really make a movie that lived up to the book,” Ansell said. “Judy was a part of it and was very supportive.”

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Adapting Blume’s novel into a film left Craig “paralyzed” when she wrote the first draft of the script because she “didn’t want to [Blume] Down.”

“I respect her a lot,” Craig added. “And that is her legacy. So it was really important to get it right. It started to change for me as soon as I mentally got to a place where it felt like if I could capture the spirit of the book, even as I made changes, everything would serve the work of the book.”

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Abby Ryder Fortson, who plays Margaret Simon, hopes the film will “start a conversation.”

“I think we live in a time where people feel a little uncomfortable talking about puberty and body changes and how you can feel awkward and embarrassed throughout your middle school years, high school years, and throughout your life. your life,” she said. “I think this film can be a great barrier to take away the pressure of having these conversations. I think if parents take their kids to see it, they will be able to talk more about this character.”

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Are you there God? It’s me, Małgorzata also stars Rachel McAdams as Barbara Simon and Kathy Bates as Sylvia Simon.

Watch the panel video on Monday.

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