Is this the real life, or is this just a doll fantasy?
Margot Robbie leads Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” centered on the history of plastic womanhood in all her glory. Generic Barbie (Robbie) ventures outside of her dreamland and finds herself caught up in the real world alongside Ken (Ryan Gosling) during a path of self-discovery. Simu Liu, Hari Nef, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, John Cena, Dua Lipa, and more play other variations of the dolls, while Will Ferrell stars as a Mattel executive antagonist. America Ferrara, Michael Cera, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Nicola Coughlan, and Emerald Fennell also star.
Director Gerwig co-wrote the script alongside partner Noah Baumbach, with no one from Mattel, lead star Robbie’s LuckyChap production banner or Warner Bros. reading any part of the script until it was completed.
Robbie ensured that LuckyChap structured the deal so Gerwig and Baumbach could have an “open” creative process, “which is really fucking hard to do,” she told Vogue. Robbie said of finally reading the script, “We just looked at each other, pure panic on our faces. We were like, ‘Holy fucking shit.’ I think the first thing I said to Tom was, ‘This is so genius. It is such a shame that we’re never going to be able to make this movie.’”
The presence of Ken was modeled as an “accessory” to Barbie, with Gerwig telling Vogue, “Barbie was invented first. Ken was invented after Barbie, to burnish Barbie’s position in our eyes and in the world. That kind of creation myth is the opposite of the creation myth in Genesis.”
The film was inspired by old Technicolor musicals, with the cast screening films like “The Red Shoes” and “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” as part of “movie church” during production. The first trailer for the film included a direct homage to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” and multiple double-entendre spoofs like wordplay on a beach fight.
Actor Liu teased “big intricate dance sequences” featuring a diverse array of Barbies and Kens, saying earlier this year, “Greta was very, very conscientious about who she cast. We were able to cast people of different shapes, sizes, differently abled, to all participate in this dance —all under this message of: You don’t have to be blonde, white, or X, Y, Z in order to embody what it means to be a Barbie or a Ken.”
“Barbie” premieres in theaters July 21, going Stiletto-to-Army-boot with “Oppenheimer” at the box office. Check out the latest trailer below and click here for all the details.