Kelly Fremon Craig is directing “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” from her adapted script based on Judy Blume’s novel, with James L. Brooks (who also backed “The Edge of Seventeen”) among the film’s producers. Abby Ryder Fortson, who played young Cassie Lang in the first two “Ant-Man” movies, stars as Margaret Simon opposite Rachel McAdams as her mother Barbara, Kathy Bates as her paternal grandmother Sylvia, and Benny Safdie as her father Herb.
While “Margaret” boasts a fantastic cast across the board, Safdie’s casting as Herb is of particular note, and not just because he’s one half of the directing duo behind acclaimed, heart attack-inducing movies like “Good Time” and “Uncut Gems.” As in Blume’s book, Barbara is Christian and Herb is Jewish, which gave Safdie the chance to tackle one of his most personal roles to date. “I am a father, I am Jewish, I am a husband,” he noted to Entertainment Weekly. “These are things that I do every day, and I don’t ever really get to put that out there. Nobody ever looked at me in that way.”
Sadly, the disturbing rise in antisemitism in the U.S. in 2022 has only made Craig’s film and Blume’s novel all the more timely, as both see Margaret dealing with her maternal grandparents’ prejudice against her father and his relatives. Indeed, faith in general is as much a core theme of the story as adolescence. “There’s something about these two things that you would never think would go together — a girl who’s praying for boobs and then asking, ‘Does God exist? And do I believe it? And what do I believe?'” said Craig. “She’s asking life’s biggest questions inside this coming-of-age journey.”