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Rachel McAdams on ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ & Abby Ryder Fortson

Apr 25, 2023


The stars of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret know a thing or two about courage. Whether it be speaking up on set or figuring out the machinations of a maxi pad on film, Rachel McAdams and Abby Ryder Fortson share all the details of Judy Blume’s long-time-coming movie adaptation with Collider’s Perri Nemiroff ahead of its nationwide release on April 28th.

Like the classic novel it’s adapted from, Are You There God? follows Margaret Simon (Fortson) on the cusp of her teenage years as she explores what it means to be Margaret. Unlike her character in the movie, Fortson seems to have a pretty clear idea of who she is and where she’s going. As McAdams, who plays Margaret’s mother in the movie, tells it, the young actress is an “old soul” with courage “in spades.”
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Before grabbing your tickets, check out the interview in the video above or read the full transcript below to find out what Academy Award-nominee Rachel McAdams only just learned about a particular part of the acting process, what wows her most about Fortson’s approach to her work, and to hear Fortson’s binge-worthy lineup of favorite films. Get ready to take notes!

Image via Lionsgate

PERRI NEMIROFF: Because the book, and now the movie, is largely about shedding light on things about growing up that can be scary or feel too embarrassing to ask about, I wanted to turn that idea towards filmmaking. What is a seemingly silly question about what it takes to make a movie that you were afraid to ask when you were first starting out that you would encourage newer actors to speak up and ask about?

ABBY RYDER FORTSON: Oh god. I gotta think about that. I’ve been doing this for a while and I have two acting parents, so I never really felt awkward about asking anything. But, I don’t know, I still have moments where I’m like, “Oh, I don’t want to ask this because it’s gonna seem really embarrassing that I don’t know this already.” But I’ve always felt really open and able to talk about things on set, and I think that’s a testament to all of the people and all of the crew and all of the directors that I’ve worked with who have really made the set a wonderful, safe place to learn and to grow as an actor, so I’m really thankful for that.

It makes me very happy to hear that.

RACHEL MCADAMS: I just realized I’ve been standing on my marks wrong for 20 years or so. I thought your toes were supposed to go on the tape, and they’re supposed to go right where the tape ends. And I know that seems like a small thing, but actually, sometimes even a little bit makes a difference. So, you know, ask how you really stand on a mark. No question is too small.

I’ve heard the mark thing quite a bit as an answer!

MCADAMS: You have? Oh my gosh, that makes me feel so much better. Thank you.

It’s always the mark and eyelines.

MCADAMS: Oh, eyelines. Dreaded eyelines.

Rachel, I wanted to ask you about working with Abby. Even with all your experience, is there anything you saw Abby do on the set of this film that made you think, “Wow, I wish I had the courage to try that when I was first starting out at the beginning of my career?”

FORTSON: Oh my god. [Laughs]

MCADAMS: Sorry, Abby. Close your ears. Just what you said, courage. She has so much courage and curiosity, endless curiosity, and I think it just makes you such a special actor. I just remember being off-stage watching her try on the maxi pad with her pantyhose, and just thinking she did every take differently. You just leaned right into it. You were not embarrassed at all. I mean, that’s a testament to what an old soul you are, that you’re like, “This is no big deal. This is my job, and I’m gonna wear this pad like nobody’s ever worn a pad before.” But yes, courage. You have it in spades in life, too.

FORTSON: Thank you. I’m blushing. [Laughs]

Image via Lionsgate

This book, and eventually the movie, is going to be a pivotal thing to many in terms of feeling seen and like certain things about growing up aren’t so scary. I wanted to take that idea and turn it toward you. Growing up, what movie had that impact on you? A film that offered guidance when you needed it.

MCADAMS: Hm, that’s a great question.

FORTSON: So I did grow up with a ton of films, and all of that – I don’t know if there is a specific movie that I really, really felt connected to, but I did love the Studio Ghibli movies as a kid. I love all of those. I want to do a binge-watch of all of them with my friends. That would be so fun.

MCADAMS: I haven’t seen those.

FORTSON: Oh my gosh, they’re amazing.

MCADAMS: Okay, I’ll check those out.

FORTSON: I loved Kiki’s Delivery Service. I loved Ponyo. All of those! Princess Mononoke is my current favorite.

MCADAMS: Oh, Ponyo …

FORTSON: Yeah, keep notes! Take notes.

MCADAMS: Okay, got it, got it. [Laughs]

FORTSON: Yeah, but I always loved those, and I loved seeing strong female characters, and I saw myself reflected in them most of the time, and I really loved watching those films.

MCADAMS: Oh, is that Spirited Away, as well?

FORTSON: Spirited Away, yeah!

MCADAMS: Oh, okay, yes. I’ve seen one!

FORTSON: I think all of those movies are amazing.

MCADAMS: I’m a huge Anne of Green Gables fan. And, because of what you’re asking about, it made me feel like it’s okay to be an original, it’s okay to walk to the beat of your own drum, you know? She was unabashedly herself, and I think when you’re growing up, just to see that that goes okay for someone – in fact, it’s a better way to be inside of yourself. It just gave me courage to be myself.

Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret hits theaters on April 28th! Be sure to check back for more of Perri’s interviews with the crew behind this long-awaited adaptation.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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