Benny Safdie isn't just one half of the sibling directing duo the Safdie brothers, he's also a talented actor in his own right, and Collider can exclusively report that he has just been cast opposite Rachel McAdams in Lionsgate's adaptation of Judy Blume's beloved novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.
Ant-Man actress Abby Ryder Fortson is set to star in the coming-of-age movie, which hails from writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig (The Edge of Seventeen). She'll play the titular sixth-grader, who moves from the city to the suburbs and prays to God to watch over her as she enters puberty and becomes anxious about the changes her body is going through. With her mother (McAdams) and grandmother (Oscar winner Kathy Bates) trying to guide her through a time when everything is changing, they too find that you never stop questioning your path and defining what is meaningful in your life.
Safdie will play Margaret's father, Herb, who in the book is depicted as a Jewish insurance salesman, while her mother, Barbara, is a Christian housewife who likes to paint. In the book, Margaret is uncertain of which religion she prefers to follow, which made her prayers that much more interesting.
“Benny has a truly amazing talent for naturalism and I’m elated to have his collaboration on this film," said Fremon Craig, who is also producing Margaret alongside Julie Ansell, Richard Sakai, Amy Brooks and Blume, as well as James L. Brooks' Gracie Films. Production is currently underway, and Lionsgate executives Meredith Wieck and Chelsea Kujawa are overseeing the project for the studio.
"Benny is an incredibly soulful actor and storyteller and a true mensch. We’re honored he’s agreed to join this iconic story as Margaret’s father," added Lionsgate's Erin Westerman, who called Blume's book a "timeless and relevant" anthem when the Margaret movie was first announced in March 2020.
I thought Safdie was really good as Robert Pattinson's mentally handicapped brother in Good Time, and I enjoyed his work opposite his Uncut Gems star Adam Sandler in the amusing short film Goldman v Silverman. Safdie has been taking more acting projects over the past couple years, as he can currently be seen in Pieces of a Woman on Netflix, and he has also wrapped Paul Thomas Anderson's next movie, which is expected to hit theaters this fall.
Meanwhile, Safdie just booked a role in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+ and he is also expected to play Emma Stone's husband in Showtime's comedy series The Curse, which he co-created with comedian Nathan Fielder. The gifted multi-hyphenate is represented by WME, Untitled Entertainment and Lichter Grossman.
[Top Photo Credit: Matt Martin]
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