Since news broke that Margot Robbie would produce and star in the upcoming “Barbie” movie, fans have wondered what a live-action version of the iconic Mattel doll’s world will look like.
Back in 2019, at the premiere of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Robbie explained why Barbie is a character worth bringing to life. “I think it’s a great opportunity to put some positivity out in the world and a chance to be aspirational for younger kids,” she told Variety’s Marc Malkin.
Directed by Greta Gerwig, from a script the “Little Women” and “Lady Bird” filmmaker co-wrote with Noah Baumbach, the movie is a co-production by Warner Bros., Mattel and Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment banner. However, further information about the film has been limited, with details of its plot fantastically wrapped in plastic.
In an Aug. 2021 interview with British Vogue, Robbie teased that taking on Barbie simultaneously “comes with a lot of baggage … and a lot of nostalgic connections.”
“But with that come[s] a lot of exciting ways to attack it,” she told the mag. “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…’”
So here’s what we do know about what Robbie and Gerwig have in store:
The cast is star-studded.
Two-time Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling will star opposite Robbie as Barbie’s longtime boy toy Ken. The film’s supporting cast includes Emmy-winning actors America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty, “Superstore”) and Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”), plus Marvel superhero Simu Liu (“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”) in yet-to-be-revealed roles. Variety also exclusively learned that “Tick, Tick … Boom!” star Alexandra Shipp has joined the cast in a likewise unknown role. But with Barbie and Ken in the mix, fans can’t help but wonder which of their other plastic playmates will appear (What about Skipper? Christie?).
Filming begins imminently.
“Barbie” is set to start production at WB’s Leavesden Studios in London early this year, with a planned 2023 theatrical release.
Other “Barbie” projects have been in the works.
In addition to Barbie’s starring roles in her franchise of nearly 40 animated films, other live-action adaptations have been announced over the years. Amy Schumer and Anne Hathaway were both attached to play Barbie when the live-action adaptation was set up at Sony; “Juno” and “Young Adult” scribe Diablo Cody was among the writers tapped by the studio to pen the script.
Barbie’s planned ascent to the big screen ultimately coalesced after Mattel Films teamed up with Warner Bros. to produce the film, with Robbie, Gerwig and Baumbach boarding the project in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In addition to starring in the film, Robbie also produces alongside LuckyChap’s Tom Ackerley, Mattel’s Robbie Brenner and David Heyman for Heyday Films. LuckyChap’s Josey McNamara and Mattel’s Ynon Kreiz are executive producers.
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