Abby Ryder Fortson and Rachel McAdams to star in movie version of Judy Blume’s ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’

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Abby Ryder Fortson [Rob Mainord Photography]

Abby Ryder Fortson, the 12-year-old actor best-known for her scene-stealing performances in Marvel’s “Ant-Man” movies, will play Margaret Simon and Rachel McAdams, an Academy Award nominee for the 2015 film “Spotlight,” will play Margaret’s mother, Barbara, in Lionsgate’s highly anticipated adaptation of Judy Blume’s classic novel “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.”

As previously reported, the film version of “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret?,” which begins production in April, is written and will be directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, who is re-teaming with legendary Academy Award-winning producer James L. Brooks and his Gracie Films banner, following their collaboration on the acclaimed film “The Edge of Seventeen.”

Julie Ansell, Richard Sakai, Amy Brooks, Fremon Craig, and Blume will join Brooks as producers, according to a news release.

A best-selling and beloved classic that has transcended decades and been embraced by generations as they approach adolescence comes to the big screen with Lionsgate’s adaptation of “Are YouThere God? It’s Me, Margaret.” In this timeless coming-of-age story, Margaret Simon, a sixth-grader who is questioning everything about adolescence and puberty, is searching the universe for whatever answers she can find. With her mother and grandmother trying to guide her through a time when everything is changing, they too find that you never stop questioning your path and defining what is meaningful in your life.

Fortson’s character, Margaret, is one of the true beacons of young people’s literature. Since its publication in 1970, Blume’s frank, loving narrative has struck a chord with generations of readers, and the book was on Time magazine’s list of the top 100 works of fiction since 1923. As a special badge of honor, the book and its legion of fans have also beaten back several attempts to ban it from libraries over the years.

Rachel McAdams arrives at the 88th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton hotel on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. [Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Provided by Lionsgate]

“As the cast comes together my excitement grows.  Abby is funny and tender, strong yet vulnerable.  She IS Margaret.  And Rachel – wow! – does it get any better? A funny, loving, sexy, real woman who is also a mom. I can’t wait to see these two playing mother and daughter. It all began with trusting Kelly and Jim and they’ve proven how much this project means to them, which means everything to me,” Blume said in a statement.

For decades, Blume has famously refused adaptations of her published work, especially “Margaret”; after changing her mind recently, she sparked to the filmmaking team led by Brooks and Fremon Craig.

“Abby is the kind of extraordinarily rare talent that comes along once a generation. The minute she walked in the room, she knocked us off our feet with her humor, vitality, and instantly lovable presence. We knew we’d found Margaret.  Together with Rachel McAdams’ exceptional talent for creating indelible characters that make you laugh out loud, bawl your eyes out, or both — there couldn’t be a better combination to bring Judy Blume’s much-beloved characters to life on screen,” Fremon Craig said in a statement.

Erin Westerman, Lionsgate’s president of production, announced the casting.

“The reason Margaret has struck a chord for fifty years is that her emotions are universal and timeless. Abby is an accomplished and gifted actress, but after reading many young actresses it was clear to us that Abby IS Margaret – she has, innately, the same wit, sincerity, and relatability as our heroine and will make Judy Blume proud. We’re thrilled that she’ll be paired opposite Rachel McAdams as Barbara, Margaret’s mother and a woman navigating her own place in the world. Rachel has a resume filled with iconic characters and with every warm, vulnerable performance, she cracks the audience open. As Barbara, generations of mothers – who rarely see themselves depicted holistically and authentically – will see themselves in her portrayal,” Westerman said in a statement.

Meredith Wieck and Chelsea Kujawa are overseeing the project for the studio.

Perhaps best-known for her portrayal of Cassie Lang, the daughter of Scott Lang (aka Ant-Man), in her scene-stealing roles opposite Paul Rudd in “Ant-Man” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” Fortson was named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s Top 30 Stars Under the Age of 18. Fortson also recently re-teamed with director Mark Romanek, starring in the pilot episode of the Amazon Prime series “Tales From The Loop” after first acting for the director in the first season of the television series “The Whispers.” Her other credits include “A Dog’s Journey,” “Forever My Girl,” the Duplass brothers’ shows “Togetherness” and “Room 104” for HBO, and the award-winning series “Transparent.” She will next star in the feature film “Rated,” written and directed by John Fortson, based on his award-winning short film, with filmmaker Mark Pellington producing through his company Prolific Content.

McAdams most recently starred opposite Will Ferrell in Netflix’s comedy “Eurovision Song Contest.” She also starred in the hit “Game Night,” which took in more than $100 million worldwide. She will next reprise her role as Dr. Christine Palmer in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” McAdams received her Oscar nomination for her performance in the Best Picture winner “Spotlight,” and her other film credits include “Mean Girls,” “The Notebook” and the “Sherlock Holmes” films.

-BAM

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