50 Years ago Judy Bloom wrote the groundbreaking book Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Over the years Hollywood has come knocking at her door trying to get the rights to adapt the book into a feature film, but she has always turned them down… until now.
The author has finally said yes and has granted the right to producer James L. Brooks, who has developed films such as Big, Say Anything, War of the Roses, Jerry McGuire, As Good as it Gets, The Edge of Seventeen, and The Simpsons.
It was also announced that Kelly Fremon Craig (The Edge of Seventeen) will write and direct the adaptation of Bloom’s book. It’s said that Brooks and Craig are “giddy about how they find themselves in the middle of this opportunity.”
For those of you not familiar with Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, it was published in 1970 and “it meant much more to a generation of preadolescent girls looking for answers and a sense they weren’t alone as childhood turned into a tumultuous something else.” Here’s the description of the story:
Margaret Simon, almost twelve, likes long hair, tuna fish, the smell of rain, and things that are pink. She’s just moved from New York City to Farbook, New Jersey, and is anxious to fit in with her new friends—Nancy, Gretchen, and Janie. When they form a secret club to talk about private subjects like boys, bras, and getting their first periods, Margaret is happy to belong.
But none of them can believe Margaret doesn’t have religion, and that she isn’t going to the Y or the Jewish Community Center. What they don’t know is Margaret has her own very special relationship with God. She can talk to God about everything—family, friends, even Moose Freed, her secret crush.
Margaret is funny and real, and her thoughts and feelings are oh-so-relatable—you’ll feel like she’s talking right to you, sharing her secrets with a friend.
When talking about the book and what it means to her, Craig told Deadline, “It is this right of passage for women and girls. 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. Women remember where they were when they read it. I can’t think of another book you can say that about.”
Craig went on to explain how she she went about going after the rights to the book saying it all started with a tweet that Bloom posted, “I was surprised when I read it, how much it took me back and that I hadn’t forgotten those feelings. They live in me forever. And the strangest and most serendipitous thing happened with Judy’s Tweet, that she was considering opening up her titles to be adapted. I read this at 3 AM, and wrote my reps in the middle of the night: do whatever you can to get this. Then I wrote a long and passionate email to her, telling her what her books meant to me, particularly Margaret, how it came along at a time when I needed it most. She was the first author who made me fall in love with books and by extension, film. And then I called Jim Brooks, because I thought if somehow we can get this, nobody else will care – and protect – it more.”
Brooks then shared his experience with how the deal came about saying, “I’ve never quite had an experience like this one. From the moment Kelly called me, to the completion of this [rights deal], it all happened so quickly. We went to Key West, and talked with Judy. It was like a working conversation and we lost ourselves in the work. We got up to go, with this uncertainty of everything happening so fast after we’d just shared each other’s thoughts, and her husband George said, ‘So we’re doing this!’ And then we were all hugging. Judy this week came out to Hollywood, and it takes a little bit of adjustment because she’s this national treasure whose work is so important to people who’ve read it. But she makes it so easy and gets you past that.”
He went on to talk about how they will handle the adaptation, saying:
“It definitely won’t feel like a period piece, People have read at various stages and it felt present and immediate. My granddaughter just read it, that’s how all this started, and it was just the other day. To me, Kelly is perfect casting here to turn this into a terrific screenplay. She wrote one draft of Edge of Seventeen and then went off and did another that was amazing, and the movie became its own beast from that moment on. It makes me think this will all continue to happen quickly.”
Craig is just getting started on the script and it will be interesting to see how this all comes together. What do you all think about Bloom’s Are you There God? It’s Me, Margret being adapted into a film after all these years?