“Honey, I’m home…and we’re writing the Barbie movie!”
It’s a sentence only a few Hollywood couples could believably say. But for Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, who indeed co-wrote Warner Bros. and Mattel’s upcoming “Barbie” adventure starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, it was a talk that needed having.
“I had met Margot a long time ago,” Gerwig explains of her journey to the “Barbie” director’s chair on a new episode of Dua Lipa’s podcast, “At Your Service.” “It was right before I was going into production on ‘Little Women.’ We met on something else, and it didn’t end up working out. But I liked her so much. I thought she was just really smart and really wonderful. So, I thought, ‘Well, if I ever get the chance to work with her again, I’ll do it.'”
Robbie secured the rights to Barbie through her production company LuckyChap Entertainment. With Mattel and Warner Bros. on board, Robbie began scouting for writers to tackle the script in early 2020.
“She came to me and said, ‘Would you be interested in writing this?’” Gerwig recalled. “And I said, ‘Yes!’ And then I said, ‘And Noah would like to write it too.’ And I had not really talked to Noah about this.”
Gerwig continued: “I don’t know! I think I had a six-month-old baby when I said yes? And I wasn’t necessarily running everything by him… It was in March of 2020 that Noah said, ‘Are we meant to be writing a ‘Barbie’ movie?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘I don’t have any ideas for that! Why didn’t you sign us up to write a different thing?’ And I was like, ‘Because I have a feeling. I like Margot and I have a feeling.’”
After cracking the concept on her own — a process Gerwig described as “terrifying” — she took her ideas to Baumbach and the couple “started building it together.” From there, Gerwig says the trepidation she’d had about the movie transformed into excitement. “Barbie” began filming in March of this year.
“Initially, I didn’t know I was going to direct it,” she said. “And then it was at a certain point while we were writing it that I realized I really wanted to direct it because I thought it was so great. I think the moment I knew I wanted to direct it was when Noah said to me, ‘Are you sure you want to direct this?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, are you interested in directing it? No, no, this one’s mine.'”
The buzzy film scored early fans over the summer when first-look photos of Gosling and Robbie decked out in neon outfits went viral online. Asked if Gerwig had seen any Barbie and Ken inspired Halloween costumes this year, Gerwig said: “I saw a ‘Barbie’ costume in the wild at a party! It was surreal.”