Kelly Fremon Craig to write and direct long-awaited film adaptation of Judy Blume’s ‘Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret’

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Kelly Fremon Craig, left, and James L. Brooks appear on the set of “The Edge of Seventeen.” [STX Productions photo]

Judy Blume’s iconic 1980 novel “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret” is finally set to be made into a feature film.

Lionsgate, which has committed to green-light the movie, emerged victorious in a fierce bidding war for the film rights, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Edge of Seventeen” writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig will pen and helm the adaptation of the cherished and often controversial young-adult book.

“Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret” will be produced by James L. Brooks’ Gracie Films, which also produced Fremon Craig’s Golden Globe-nominated 2016 directorial debut. Julie Ansell, Richard Sakai, Amy Brooks, Fremon Craig and Blume also will produce.

The book chronicles the coming-of-age of Margaret Simon, a sixth-grader who moves from New York City to suburban New Jersey. She frequently prays to God to help her navigate the challenges of her adolescence, which range from puberty and first crushes to her interfaith family dynamics.

As The Hollywood Reporter notes, Blume, 82, in the past has famously refused to allow the complicated coming-of-age novel to be adapted for film, even as it became a favorite of generations of girls. But the iconic author changed her mind after Brooks and Fremon Craig when they traveled to Key West, Florida, to meet with her.

“I could not be more honored to bring Margaret to the screen alongside my two biggest heroes, Jim Brooks and Judy Blume, and the fiercely passionate team at Gracie Films. Lionsgate swept us away with their resounding passion for this book and what it has meant to generations, and I am thrilled to lock arms with Erin Westerman, Nathan Kahane, Joe Drake and the rest of their exceptional team to bring this film to life,” Fremon Craig said, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Meredith Wieck and Chelsea Kujawa are overseeing the project for Lionsgate. The studio transformed a conference room into an 11-year-old girl’s bedroom and dug out photos of the executives as 11-year-olds for its meeting with Fremon Craig and Brooks, according to the trade publication.

“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. For that reason, Judy Blume is a beacon for women and girls. Kelly Fremon Craig is a filmmaker we have adored and chased for years, and James L Brooks is a hero to us all,” said Westerman, Lionsgate president of production, in a statement.

“Together, 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.”

Along with Lionsgate’s adaptation of “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret,” Blume’s more adult novel “Summer Sisters” has been snatched up by Disney-owned Hulu after another bidding war. According to The Hollywood Reporter, that book will be adapted into a limited series, with Liz Tigelaar, showrunner of the Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere,” attached to pen the script.

-BAM

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