Rachel McAdams recalls getting ‘PTSD’ from role in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret?

Rachel McAdams as Barbara in Are You There God? It's Me Margaret

An upcoming film adaptation of Judy Blume’s trailblazing 1970 novel that smashed the taboo around puberty for teen girls will star Rachel McAdams.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is the most famous book from children’s author Blume and it defiantly explored menstruation and religious independence, leading to nationwide book bans from the 1980s to the 2000s.

As book bans and censorship around women’s and LGBTQ+ issues surge again across the US, the film adaptation, starring Abby Ryder Fortson as protagonist Margaret, and McAdams as her mother Barbara, has never been more important. In March, a proposed Florida bill aimed to forbid discussions about menstruation in schools.

The movie, which comes out in the US later this month, made McAdams reflect on her own puberty, jokingly telling ET that while filming she had “a little PTSD, I’m not gonna lie but, you know, it’s a beautiful time as well”.

The 44-year-old actor is planning to make the movie an essential watch for her family, jesting that she hopes her daughter “is not embarrassed.”

She said: “She probably will be [embarrassed], so I’m just gonna prepare myself for that. But I’m really excited to show it to my son too.

You may like to watch

“I feel like it’s great for guys to see behind the scenes… to just normalise what’s really normal and create compassion between the sexes. I hope a lot of boys will go and see this with their moms, or their dads.”

Rachel McAdams believes Judy Blume has was spot-on when it comes to showing the rocky experience of existing as a tween girl. “I love the passion that goes into every little thing. It’s like, ‘I might die if I don’t get my period by then,’ and Judy hit the nail on the head with that. She really got inside the mind of a youngster.”

The film follows the journey of 11-year-old Margaret who, according to the film synopsis, is “going through the messy and tumultuous throes of puberty with new friends in a new school”. As the group of girls experience a lot of firsts – from periods to kisses – the story reveals what it means to have a developing body in a world that so heavily polices women.

Judy Blume calls DeSantis "controlling".
Author Judy Blume. (Getty)

McAdams, who was Oscar-nominated for her role in 2015’s Spotlight, was keen to stay true to Blume’s vision, telling People: “Watching her watch her book come to life and to be a part of that was just so surreal. She’s the loveliest lady and I felt very honoured to be part of this for that reason.

“I just wanted to do right by her and give her the best Barb I could.”

The movie, from director and writer Kelly Fremon Craig (The Edge of Seventeen), coincides with Blume’s recent comments on the LGBTQ+ book bans in which she condemned Ron DeSantis’ Don’t Say Gay bill.

“What are you protecting your children from?” the 85-year-old author asked while being interviewed by Variety. “Protecting your children means educating them and arming them with knowledge, and reading and supporting what they want to read. 

“No child is going to become transgender or gay or lesbian because they read a book. It’s not going to happen.”

She also came out as a trans ally after claiming her words seemingly supporting Harry Potter author JK Rowling, known for her controversial trans comments, were “taken out of context”.

Blume wrote: “I stand with the trans community and vehemently disagree with anyone who does not fully support equality and acceptance for LGBTQIA+ people.”

Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret is due to open in the US on 28 April and in the UK on 19 May.