Rachel McAdams & Abby Ryder Fortson Talk Are You There

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ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret stars Rachel McAdams and Abby Ryder Fortson about the movie adaptation of Judy Blume’s iconic book. The duo discussed the movie’s take on religion and working with Benny Safdie (watch and read more interviews).

“Raised by a Christian mother and a Jewish father, an adolescent girl starts to ask questions about religion and faith,” reads the movie‘s synopsis.

Tyler Treese: Rachel, there’s such an interesting exploration of religion throughout the film and how it impacts relationships. We really see that with your character and her parents. What about that storyline really grabbed you and made you want to be a part of this project?

Rachel McAdams: There’s so many things about this book and adaptation that I think are important stories to tell about identity and family dynamics, but yes, also about religion. It’s a constant searching for what that means to a person. I love that God is very personal in this film, that Abby’s character’s looking for a friend and she’s looking for someone to talk to, to not feel so alone. So I like that it’s offering a different glimpse on what God can be to you.

Then watching Barbara suffer a lot of pain through not conforming to a certain religion … and that she was very brave at the time for rejecting that for finding another way. She’s sort of got some shadows she’s dealing with now, that she doesn’t want Margaret to know anything about religion. So she’s kind of gone into the extreme. Religion’s just such a tricky thing that I think it’s always worth exploring. It’s a huge part of our world still, and a big part of what it is to come into yourself is understanding your relationship to it.

Abby, you’re fantastic in the movie. Because this is a coming-of-age story, that means you get the act out all of these embarrassing moments tied to puberty. How was it, going through that on a film set?

Abby Ryder Fortson: It was honestly really fun. I remember all those moments that I went through and I drew in a lot of my own experiences while making Margaret’s character. It was certainly fun doing a lot of things that I didn’t get to do, like having the awkward pad-buying experience. That was hilarious to shoot and to watch over and over again. And all the other fun, awkward teenage moments are just so relatable and they were awesome to shoot.

Rachel, Benny Safdie is such a talented director and he’s so great in this acting role here. What really stood out about him as a scene partner?

Rachel McAdams: It’s so interesting to watch Benny’s films and then to see him in this role. He’s obviously just such a diverse talent. He just plays good dad. [Laugh].

Abby Ryder Fortson: Yeah!

Rachel McAdams: He just emulates “good dad,” like dad that really wants to understand his kid. He’s really, “I’m here for you honey. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m here.” I think it’s a really relatable performance for other dads. I think they’re going to see themselves in what Benny did. He’s a great actor.

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