"In the nearly 50 years since she wrote her groundbreaking 1970 novel Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Judy Blume has turned down overtures to turn her seminal novel into a film," Deadline noted. But now the bestselling author has said yes. Producer James L. Brooks's Gracie Films and Kelly Fremon Craig, who collaborated on The Edge of Seventeen, have been granted rights to the book.
"It is this right of passage for women and girls," said Fremon Craig, who is adapting and directing Blume's novel. "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."
Brooks and Fremon Craig flew to meet with Blume in Key West, Fla., where she operates Books and Books @ the Studios with her husband, George.
"I've never quite had an experience like this one," Brooks said. "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."
Brooks added that the movie "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."
Fremon Craig noted that she received "the greatest e-mail from Judy where she said if someone were to make a film of one of her books, she hoped it would have the same tone and feeling that The Edge of Seventeen had. It's maybe the greatest compliment I've ever gotten, because she has always been a North star for me as a writer."