The Barbie doll arrived in stores in 1959, and quickly went on to become a worldwide phenomenon. The character has held hundreds of jobs, weathered controversy, and been continually reinvented over the past 60 years to adapt and change with the times. Though she's had several direct-to-video animated features, and plenty of parodies, Barbie herself has never had a solo film dedicated to her character—until now.
After a lengthy run in development limbo, bouncing between studios, creatives and stars (most notably Amy Schumer), it was announced in 2019 that two-time Academy Award nominee Margot Robbie would play the iconic character. And now, with the release of early images from the movie of Robbie and co-star Ryan Gosling, it's clear Barbie is finally on her way to the big screen. Read on for everything we know so far about Barbie.
What is the movie about?
Well, we don't really know yet! So far, we've only seen two vibrant images from the production. One is of Margot Robbie as the titular doll, seemingly come to life sitting in her pink convertible. The other is of Ryan Gosling as Ken, sporting bleached blond hair and a denim vest, which of course sent the internet into a frenzy. Other than those images, the plot is well under wraps, but Robbie did tell The Hollywood Reporter that, "Whatever you're thinking, we're going to give you something totally different."
Who's in the movie?
Aside from Robbie and Gosling, the cast is stacked with talent. Simu Liu is rumored to play a version of Ken, and told The Independent he waxed his entire body for the role. Sex Education star Emma Mackey is also among the cast, and many have noted she bears a resemblance to Robbie, suggesting a meta element to the story.
The Hollywood Reporter also reported that Will Ferrell will play the CEO of a toy company. And there are even more stars: Kate McKinnon, America Ferrera, Issa Rae, Michael Cera, Jamie Demetriou, Rhea Perlman, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Emerald Fennell and Alexandra Shipp, all of whom have been announced in recent months though their roles are unknown.
Who's behind the scenes?
Greta Gerwig is directing, following a streak of award nominations in the past few years, including an Oscar nomination for her Little Women screenplay and a double nomination for writing and directing 2017's Lady Bird. Gerwig is co-writing Barbie with Noah Baumbach, a fellow Oscar nominee who also happens to be Gerwig's partner.
Development on a Barbie movie actually began way back in 2009, before bouncing around several studios and writers. Amy Schumer recently told The Hollywood Reporter that when she originally signed on to play the character and co-write the script, her take would have focused on an inventor who was booted from "Barbieland" for not being up to par. But Schumer and Sony, which was producing the project at the time, parted ways in 2017, with Schumer citing creative differences.
Barbie is a co-production between Warner Bros. and LuckyChap Entertainment, Robbie's production company which produced her films including I, Tonya and Birds of Prey, along with the Oscar-winning Promising Young Woman.
In 2021, Robbie told 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 …'"
When will we be able to watch it?
Barbie will arrive in theaters July 21, 2023.