Good news for the upcoming adaptation of Judy Blume’s classic coming-of-age novel Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, as Lionsgate announced this afternoon that veteran performer and Oscar-winner Kathy Bates has joined the film’s cast. Against all odds, Bates will not be playing the God who the titular Margaret periodically prays to, but rather the role of her beloved grandmother Sylvia. Bates joins a cast that includes Rachel McAdams and Ant Man’s Abby Ryder Fortson, with the latter playing Margaret herself.
In the novel, Margaret’s time with the accepting Sylvia are painted as some of the few highpoints of the tumultuous times in which the book takes place, as social pressures, religious arguments, and more send the young girl constantly spiraling in search of divine advice. Blume’s 1970 novel has long been praised for its quiet and thoughtful look at the ways these crises, big and small, can shape a young person trying to figure out the world, and Sylvia is one of the few people in Margaret’s life not trying to impose some kind of shape or path for her to adhere to or follow.
Bates, for her part, has been relatively quiet in recent years; she previously starred in Franka Potente’s Home, and before that had a starring role in Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell, for which she received her fourth Academy Award nomination. Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, is set to begin production in April.