Growing up, especially as a girl, comes with a lot to understand, about yourself and others. The film Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret.– in theaters now and based on the novel of the same name by iconic author Judy Blume – captures exactly that. A big part of what shapes this coming of age process is where it all happens. So, naturally, the houses and more specifically the bedrooms imagined for the film provide a deeper insight into the collective yet distinct experience of each character.
Set in the 1970s, the story follows pre-teen Margaret Simon as she navigates a big move, religion, rules, boys, bras and everything that comes with growing up as a child. what a girl. “The film is all about women and girls, and if we understood their story correctly, everything [film] would kind of fit together,” said production designer Steve Saklad Beautiful house. “I listened to Kelly a lot [Fremon Craig, the director,] and Selena van den Brink, our set designer… I thought if I could connect with them on their wavelength, I would know who these women and girls are, and each one of them was so specific and so unique .
While the story is primarily set in New Jersey, production was filmed in and around Charlotte, North Carolina. Besides being a tax-refund state, the city was chosen over others, like Atlanta, for its “classic suburban ranch homes and cul-de-sacs, which really told us the New Jersey,” Saklad said.
The city provided the backdrops for almost every location except the school. (Scenes were filmed at the McCelvey Center in South Carolina.) Residences in the Foxcroft neighborhood of Charlotte were chosen to represent the Farbooks, New Jersey, homes of the Simon family and the Wheelers, their neighbors.
For the interiors of the Simons house, Saklad and van den Brink leaned on earth tones, a color palette appropriate for the times. Gradually, Margaret’s mother, Barbara, built their new sanctuary filled with plants and art, which became just as vibrant as their old apartment in New York. The atmosphere evokes a sense of freedom and connection to nature.
The Wheeler mansion offers a striking contrast. “Ms. Wheeler and Nancy strictly followed the rules,” says Saklad. “Ms. Wheeler was all about charm but icy underneath, so those strong blues and icy silver colors permeated the main part of their home.
Each house influences the look of Margaret and Nancy Wheeler’s bedrooms, showcasing their struggles and personalities. Margaret’s bedroom was one of the few sets built in a warehouse converted into a sound stage. “We spent a lot of time finding the vibe,” Saklad says. “We added this beautiful portal of windows around her headboard so she feels like the world, the cosmos, the streaming sun and the moonlight are somehow surrounding her bed as she continues this journey to find out who she is and what her place is with God.
They installed night maps of the constellations on the slanted ceilings above her bed to allow her, in a sense, to observe the stars as she reflects on her beliefs about the universe. To make the room look incomplete, the walls have been painted in different colors – two buttery yellows, a pale blue and a pale gray – showing just how much Margaret is still discovering herself.
Nancy’s room is supposed to look like it was designed for her when she was 8 years old. “She’s suffocating in those ruffles and those kinds of floral wallpapers that climb up the walls like an overgrown garden,” Saklad says.
Since Nancy isn’t who she appears to be on the surface, the piece includes odd pops of orange and green as well as photos of Twiggy and other fashion icons to hint at her rebellious days. . “It didn’t show so much on camera, but under the ruffles [on her bed] were all the things she had piled up that she didn’t want her mother to see,” Saklad reveals. “So toys and kinds of risque clothes – the things that don’t fit the decor so that if you looked a little bit below the surface of Nancy, you would understand how fragile she was and how messed up she was. “
Whether it’s Margaret’s curiosity-filled bedroom or Nancy’s bright but stuffy bedroom, spaces are crucial to the times they go through in life, revealing who they are and what they live in. these moments.
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