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4/25/2022 • 4 min read
When it comes to highly-recognizable toy and entertainment brands, Mattel's Barbie is pretty high on any list you might create. So, yes, for a long time the idea of a live-action BARBIE movie has been floating around Hollywood. While there are many Barbie parodies and references in movies, and even a pretty direct appearance in the TOY STORY series, a live-action BARBIE movie has never come together — until now.
Here's everything we know about BARBIE so far, including the frankly amazing cast. When you see who's making the BARBIE movie, you'll understand why the cast signed on — and then the BARBIE teaser trailer will likely sell you on the movie immediately.
As one of the biggest names in toys, it's no surprise that Barbie has been developed as a movie. And given that Barbie is a property without any one story — the whole idea with dolls is that everyone gets to make up their own story! — it's also not surprising that creating that movie has taken a long time.
More versions of a live-action Barbie movie have been in development than we can count. Sure, there are many animated movies (almost 40, with two more slated for this year!), but those are evidently seen as lower-stakes efforts. Certainly, creating a big-budget live-action movie filled with notable stars is a unique proposition.
But Mattel, the company which makes Barbie dolls, has done a lot of work to expand the toy line beyond the most obvious and stereotypical elements. So this movie could really be just about anything, within a certain context. (It's probably not a horror movie.) BARBIE is now filming, with the production getting under way at Leavesden Studios outside London early this year. Even this one has taken a long time to move forward; Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach were announced as creators in 2018 and 2019.
The new BARBIE movie is directed by Greta Gerwig and written by Gerwig and her real-life partner, filmmaker Noah Baumbach. That's right: BARBIE is being spearheaded by indie all-stars!
Gerwig has previously directed two movies — LADY BIRD and LITTLE WOMEN, and she and Baumbach also wrote FRANCES HA and MISTRESS AMERICA together. When it came time for Gerwig to announce the movie that would follow up LITTLE WOMEN, BARBIE is certainly not what anyone expected! That alone has us interested in this movie.
BARBIE will open exclusively in movie theatres on July 21, 2023.
While we don't know what you were expecting to see in the first BARBIE trailer, we're willing to bet it wasn't an extended 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY gag. And the change-up from the 2001 riff to Barbie's hyper-colored world is a great shift. And then there are the musical numbers, of which we only get a hint.
Margot Robbie (seen above in the first official image from the movie) is the star of BARBIE! She signed on to the movie in 2019 and is producing as well as starring. Not long after joining the production, she told Variety, "I think it’s a great opportunity to put some positivity out in the world and a chance to be aspirational for younger kids."
More recently, in August 2021, Robbie admitted to Vogue that BARBIE "comes with a lot of baggage" but also "a lot of nostalgic connections." It sounds as if the filmmakers are keeping that in mind, however. "People generally hear Barbie and think, 'I know what that movie is going to be,' and then they hear that Greta Gerwig is writing and directing it, and they’re like, 'Oh, well, maybe I don’t…'"
Ken is part of Barbie's life, and in BARBIE Ken will be played by Ryan Gosling. That's a power couple! We don't know if any of Barbie's other perennial plastic pals will be around, but the chances seem pretty good.
Meanwhile, the rest of the BARBIE cast is packed with talent. America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty"), Kate McKinnon ("Saturday Night Live"), Simu Liu (SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF HTE TEN RINGS), Hari Nef ("And Just Like That) and Alexandra Shipp (TICK TICK… BOOM!) are in the cast as well. And writer/director/actor Emerald Fennell, whose movie PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN was produced by Margot Robbie, is in the cast, too.
Oh and this is a Will Ferrell movie! He reportedly appears as a toy company CEO (echoing his LEGO MOVIE role) while Ariana Greenblatt is also said to have a role alongside a host of other performers including Issa Rae, Michael Cera, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Rhea Perlman, Sharon Rooney, Scott Evans, Ana Cruz Kayne, Ritu Arya, Jamie Demetriou, and a nice chunk of the "Sex Education" cast: Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa and Connor Swindells.
All images courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.
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