It’s a Barbie world, and we’re all just living in it.
What seems like a Mattel doll lifetime ago, Margot Robbie confirmed the “Barbie” live-action film adaptation in July 2019, with Greta Gerwig and partner Noah Baumbach co-writing the script. Gerwig was later announced to be directing the film.
The news marked the famed blonde-haired doll’s 60th anniversary. “Barbie” will premiere in theaters on July 21, 2023.
Robbie, who will star as Barbie opposite Ryan Gosling’s Ken, is slated to produce the film through her production company LuckyChap Entertainment. Mattel Films and HeyDay Films will co-produce.
The “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” star admitted that the film “comes with a lot of baggage and a lot of nostalgic connections” to honor the doll’s legacy. “But with that come a lot of exciting ways to attack it,” Robbie said to British Vogue. “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…’”
The Barbie franchise originally was going to make its debut on the big screen courtesy of Diablo Cody, who re-wrote former “Sex and the City” writer Jenny Bicks’ 2014 Sony script, as reported by W Magazine. Amy Schumer boarded the project in 2016, with a new script by Hillary Winston about a woman who is kicked out of “Barbie-ville” due to not meeting its standards of physical perfection. Schumer exited due to “scheduling conflicts” for her film “I Feel Pretty,” but later clarified that there were creative differences behind-the-scenes for the vision of Barbie.
“They definitely didn’t want to do it the way I wanted to do it, the only way I was interested in doing it,” Schumer told The Hollywood Reporter. Schumer wanted Barbie to be an “ambitious inventor,” but Mattel and the studio allegedly pushed back that her invention be high heels made of Jell-O.
“I felt like I was disappointing my team by not being Barbie,” Schumer recalled, adding that she was sent a pair of Manolo Blahniks to celebrate the film deal at the time. “The idea that that’s just what every woman must want, right there, I should have gone, ‘You’ve got the wrong gal.'”
By 2019, Robbie took over the new Warner Bros. production, with Gerwig and Baumbach tapped as screenwriters. While the plot is still kept under wraps, we do know the star-studded cast. Robbie also teased to The Hollywood Reporter that “Barbie” will be “the thing you didn’t know you wanted.”
And “Barbie” is already setting a new precedent for adaptations: Mattel and MGM confirmed in June 2021 that Lena Dunham was writing and directing a Polly Pocket movie with Lily Collins in the lead role and serving as a producer.
“Polly Pocket was responsible for countless hours of childhood escapism for me — Polly gave me a tiny world of magic and autonomy to narrate, so it’s pretty poetic to be tackling these same ideas now as a director collaborating with the brilliant Lily Collins, Robbie Brenner, Mattel and MGM,” Dunham said, via Deadline. “I’m so thrilled to bring to bear both my love of this historic property and also my deep-seated belief that young women need smart playful films that speak to them without condescension.”
Other Mattel Films projects in development include “American Girl,” “Barney,” “Hot Wheels,” “UNO,” and “Masters of the Universe.”
In the meantime, find out all there is to know about the “Barbie” film below.
Meet Barbie and Ken
All hail the casting gods for this live-action “Barbie” world. Producer Margot Robbie will play the titular Barbie, with Ryan Gosling co-starring as Barbie’s iconic love interest Ken. If Robbie’s “Wolf of Wall Street” wardrobe is any indication of the Barbie-verse, we already know Robbie can rock an all-pink ensemble in the rumored plotline of Barbie escaping her doll fantasy world only to find herself overwhelmed with reality.
Robbie made her producing debut with “I, Tonya,” later serving as executive producer for Hulu’s “Dollface” and Netflix’s “Maid.” Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment production company was also behind Harley Quinn film “Birds of Prey” and critically acclaimed #MeToo revenge comedy-drama “Promising Young Woman.”
“Barbie” is currently in pre-production as of February 2021.
Simu Liu Follows up “Shang-Chi” with Doll Dramedy
Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection
Simu Liu was officially announced to be joining the “Barbie” cast in February 2021. Liu told Vanity Fair that he didn’t want to be typecast following the success of Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings.”
“I was like, ‘If I don’t have something ready to go, it’s going to be “Simu is Shang-Chi,” and that’s it,'” Liu said. “I still feel very much like I’m an outsider in Hollywood…but I’m starting to realize I don’t have to prove to anyone or myself that I deserve to be here. Taking up this space and being unapologetic — these things came a lot easier to me back in the day, when I didn’t have a seat at the table. I was playing a very different game, but I think I’m slowly finding that courage again.”
Next move? “Barbie” on the big screen.
Kate McKinnon Reunites with “Bombshell” Co-Star
Jason Smith/Everett Collection
After playing friends with benefits in “Bombshell,” Kate McKinnon reunites alongside Margot Robbie for “Barbie.” Robbie previously gushed to PRIDE.com about her love for the “Saturday Night Live” breakout star, saying that they just “clicked immediately” after meeting.
“We had chemistry so readily there,” Robbie said. “It was so fun to play with Kate. She improvs a lot, and she’s funny and hilarious. She’s so talented, and she’s the nicest person ever. I could talk for an hour about how much I love Kate.”
Plus, McKinnon went to college (and was roommates) with “Barbie” writer-director Greta Gerwig. “We sort of lived in a dorm together,” the “Tiger King” actress shared to E! Live from the Red Carpet (via People) during the 2022 Emmys.
As for the upcoming film, McKinnon hinted, “The colors, the sets are everything, the costumes are everything, the script and story — Margot [Robbie], Ryan Gosling — are everything. America Ferrara, everything. I’m just so excited for people to see it because it’s going to be epic.”
America Ferrera Is Ready to Make the Film “Super”
Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection
“Superstore” alum America Ferrera joined the “Barbie” ensemble cast in January 2022. Ferrera is currently starring as Elishia Kennedy in Apple TV+’s “WeCrashed,” based on the Wondery podcast “WeCrashed: The Rise and Fall of WeWork,” about startup founder Adam Neumann.
Ferrera made her film debut in 2002 film “Real Women Have Curves,” going on to star in “Ugly Betty,” “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” and “The Good Wife.”
Ariana Greenblatt Continues Her Winning Streak
Fresh face Ariana Greenblatt may seem like a newcomer, but the 15-year-old has already landed an impressive resume in just six years of acting. Greenblatt portrayed a young Gamora in “Avengers: Infinity War” before going on to appear in “In the Heights” and “Awake.” Greenblatt is set to star opposite Cate Blanchett in Eli Roth’s “Borderlands,” as well as partnering with Adam Driver for Beck/Woods’ mysterious “65.” Now, she’s entering the “Barbie” world.
Alexandra Shipp Joins the Cast
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“Tick, Tick…BOOM” star Alexandra Shipp accompanies her “65” co-star Greenblatt to “Barbie.” While Shipp’s “Barbie” role has yet to be revealed, we do know that she can sing thanks to a duet opposite Vanessa Hudgens in “Tick, Tick…BOOM.” Shipp also has filmed “Kung Fury 2” with Michael Fassbender and will appear in Kyra Sedgwick’s directorial debut “Space Oddity.”
Will Ferrell Is on Board
Legendary comic star Will Ferrell announced he was joining “Barbie” in April 2022. The “Shrink Next Door” alum is confirmed to be playing the CEO of a toy company that is rumored to be modeled after Mattel. Seems like Ferrell is back in the toy market after “Elf”!
Issa Rae Makes Her Mark
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Following the final season of award-winning HBO series “Insecure,” multi-hyphenate creator Issa Rae joins “Barbie” in an unspecified role, as reported on April 14. The Emmy nominee is currently starring in AppleTV+ anthology series “Roar,” and will also appear in writer-director B.J. Novak’s film “Vengeance.” Rae additionally is set to lead “Empress of Serenity” opposite Bill Hader about a grieving man who embarks on a cruise with his estranged father.
Michael Cera Brings His Comedy Style
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“Life After Beth” star Michael Cera continues his 2022 takeover with a new role in “Barbie.” The “Superbad” alum also is in pre-production on comedies “Jonty” and “Sacramento.”
“And Just Like That” Hari Nef Is Part of “Barbie”
After stealing scenes as Rabbi Jen on “Sex and the City” revival series “And Just Like That…” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Hari Nef will star in “Barbie.” While Nef’s role is being kept under wraps, the trans actress has previously starred in “Transparent” and “You.” Nef is currently in pre-production on “L.A. Law” and leads upcoming film “1UP.”
Kingsley Ben-Adir Enters Barbie World
“High Fidelity” and “One Night in Miami…” star Kingsley Ben-Adir officially joins the “Barbie” cast. The news came just weeks after Ben-Adir was confirmed to be playing Bob Marley in a yet untitled biopic, adding to his resumé of playing real-life titans like Barack Obama and Malcolm X. Ben-Adir is also currently filming Marvel Studios’ “Secret Invasion” with Samuel L. Jackson, Olivia Colman, Martin Freeman, Ben Mendelsohn, Cobie Smulders, and Emilia Clarke.
Emerald Fennell Is a “Promising” Casting Choice
Oscar winner Emerald Fennell was announced as part of the “Barbie” cast. Fennell most recently played Camilla Parker Bowles on “The Crown” and is currently behind-the-camera writing, producing, and directing two upcoming feature films, including DC Comics superhero movie “Zahanna.” Fennell previously won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for 2020’s “Promising Young Woman,” which she also directed.
Rhea Perlman and More Round Out the Cast
“Cheers” alum Rhea Perlman joined “Barbie,” along with “Doctor Who” star Ncuti Gatwa, “Industry” breakout Marisa Abela, Sharon Rooney, Scott Evans, Ana Cruz Kayne, Connor Swindells, Ritu Arya, and Jamie Demetriou.
“Bridgerton” Breakout Nicola Coughlan Is Said to Be Joining
Nicola Coughlan, who is set to lead Season 3 of hit Netflix series “Bridgerton,” is reportedly linked to “Barbie.”
Dua Lipa Is Rumored to Be Cast
British pop star Dua Lipa might have already found her sophomore film feature with “Barbie.” The Grammy winner is already set to make her film debut in Matthew Vaughan’s “Argylle” opposite a star-studded cast including Sam Rockwell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Henry Cavill, Samuel L. Jackson, Bryan Cranston, John Cena, Catherine O’Hara, and Ariana DeBose. Yes, the cast list almost rivals that of “Barbie.” Based on the novel by Elly Conway, “Argylle” follows the world’s greatest spy over the course of a globe-trotting adventure. Seems like Lipa’s career is about to be “Levitating” on the big screen…
Saoirse Ronan Is “Gutted” to Not Be a Barbie
PA Wire/Press Association Images
From “Lady Bird” to “Little Women,” Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan was supposed to work with Greta Gerwig yet again for “Barbie.” While buzz from the 2022 Cannes Film Festival hints that the “Barbie” film will feature various iterations of the famed Barbie and Ken dolls, played by different actors, it seems that Ronan couldn’t find the time to reunite with writer-director Gerwig: She’s already is in the middle of filming the adaptation of Amy Liptrot’s novel “The Outrun” opposite Paapa Essiedu, plus Ronan recently completed whodunnit comedy “See How They Run” with Sam Rockwell and Adrien Brody. And don’t forget “Foe,” which has Ronan paired alongside Paul Mescal as post-apocalyptic farmers.
“I was supposed to do a cameo because I live in London and they were [filming] there,” Ronan told People. “There was a whole character I was going to play — another Barbie. I was gutted I couldn’t do it.”
She joked, “I have texted Margot and Greta and I’m like, ‘If you’re doing any pick-up [shots], maybe I can just walk through the background?'”
See Ryan Gosling as Ken
Forget Calvin Klein: Ken has his own brand of briefs in a new sneak peek at Ryan Gosling in the iconic role. Gosling returns to his “Place Beyond the Pines” bleach blonde ‘do and dons an acid wash denim suit that shows off his toned chest.
Neon Visors, Hot Pink Pantsuits, and Denim Cutoffs: Inside ‘Barbie”s Wardrobe
Oscar-winning costume designer Jacqueline Durran is behind the “Barbie” looks that have already gone viral with sneak peeks from the set. Matching hot pink spandex outfits keep Barbie (Robbie) and Ken (Gosling) in style, all the way down to his boxer briefs and the neon green rollerblades. Durran is teaming up again with writer-director Gerwig after collaborating on the costumes for “Little Women,” for which Durran won her second Academy Award for (her first was for 2012’s “Anna Karenina.”) “Barbie” no doubt is a departure for Durran’s past historical period piece wardrobing, but already the “Barbie” looks have been breaking the Internet.
Ken Has a “Harder” Life Than We Expect
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Ryan Gosling teased that his Ken character in “Barbie” is struggling. Turns out it’s not all fun and games in the Barbie Dream World. “That Ken life is even harder than the ‘Gray Man’ life, I think,” Gosling said to Entertainment Tonight while promoting his Netflix spy caper. “Ken’s got no money, he’s got no job, he’s got no car, he’s got no house. He’s going through some stuff.”
Just don’t think you know anything about “Barbie,” though. “It’s not what you think it is, unless it is,” Gosling, ever an enigma, joked. “And then you know what it is, but I don’t think that’s what you think it is. Wait, what are we talking about?”
Production Wrapped in July 2022
Stars Hari Nef and Ariana Greenblatt confirmed that filming wrapped on July 15. “Left Barbie Land today,” Greenblatt tweeted alongside a mirror selfie. “What a special place to be in. I love & respect every person on this film and I’m so excited for the world to see what we have created. (really see it;) off to start my new journey! don’t forget to wear as much pink as you can in honor of Barbie.”
Nef captioned on Instagram, “It’s a wrap for the Doll! See you in Barbieland.”
Get Ready to Meet Many Barbies and Kens
Actress Alexandra Shipp confirmed there will be multiple Barbies and Kens in the film after months of rumors. Shipp posted a tribute to the cast and crew of the film, writing in part, “Thank you #GretaGerwig for trusting me to portray one of your fabulous Barbies.”
Issa Rae Teases “Barbie” Will Be “Crazy”
“Insecure” Emmy nominee Issa Rae told Today that writer-director Greta Gerwig’s vision for “Barbie” is what led her to sign on to the “crazy” movie.
“I was like, ‘This sounds crazy, but OK. Let me just read the script,'” Rae shared. “When you read the script, you’re like, ‘Oh, I get it!’ It’s very funny, and it’s just very specific to her. Working with her was absolutely amazing.” Seems like “Barbie” will definitely have Gerwig’s sense of humor!
Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie Were Paid Equally
All’s fair in Barbieland! A report issued by Variety found that co-lead stars Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie each made a salary of $12.5 million for the film. Robbie also serves as a producer through her LuckyChap banner.
Ryan Gosling Was Fated to Play Ken, Found Inspiration With Daughter’s Doll
Ryan Gosling has been working on his “Ken-ergy” for years but a destined realization led him to sign on to Greta Gerwig’s film. During an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” Gosling gushed over Gerwig’s screenplay, calling it the “best script I’ve ever read.”
Before officially joining the film, Gosling recalled seeing his own family’s disrespected Ken doll.
“I walk out in the backyard and, do you know where I found Ken, Jimmy? Face down in the mud next to a squished lemon,” Gosling said of his daughters’ toys. “Gosling took a photo of what he found and texted it to Gerwig saying, ‘I shall be your Ken, for this story must be told.’ Nobody plays with Ken.”
Issa Rae: The “Barbie” Set Was Inspirational
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While Issa Rae is a certified mogul, helming “Rap Sh!t” next, the Emmy nominee told The Independent that starring in “Barbie” made her want to emulate writer-director Greta Gerwig’s presence on set. “I want all my sets to be like what she was able to create,” the multi-hyphenate producer explained, citing that Gerwig was “always” talking with someone or making jokes.
Emma Mackey Confirms There’s No Crying in Barbieland
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The “Sex Education” breakout star promised that “Barbie” is a “pure” comedy and no tears will be shed onscreen, or in the theater audience, for that matter. “It’s a comedy, thank God. No crying in this film!” Emma Mackey shared with Total Film (via Games Radar). “It was great to do pure comedy, an American comedy as well. And I got to work with some heroes.”
Those heroes being writer-director Greta Gerwig and fan-declared doppleganger Margot Robbie. “I’m like, ‘We don’t look anything like each other,'” Mackey responded. “[But] I don’t mind it. It’s Margot Robbie. Are you kidding me? She’s the best. I look up to her so much. I don’t mind the comparisons, but it would be nice to move past that.”
“Barbie Girl” Will Not Be in Barbie World
Unfortunately, Barbie will not be coming to party. The band Aqua, who penned the viral 1997 song “Barbie Girl,” confirmed the track will not be included in the upcoming “Barbie” film…mostly because Mattel sued Aqua over the lyrics but the case was ultimately dismissed. Lene Nystrøm, the lead singer of the Danish-Norwegian pop group, told Variety that the song would be too on the nose, or rather “cheese on cheese” for the movie. “I totally understand why they didn’t use it,” Nystrøm said. “But it’s going to bring us a lot of attention, no matter what.”
Yet fellow band member Søren Rasted quipped, “We should say we turned it down. Ryan Gosling is not good enough!”
“Barbie” by way of “2001: A Space Odyssey”? Why not! The official teaser for “Barbie” debuted December 16 and gave a disco twist on a Stanley Kubrick classic.