It’s just a matter of time before we enter the Barbie world. The theatrical release of the Greta Gerwig-directed live-action film would mark an end of a long journey to get the classic Mattel doll to the silver screen.
As of present, we all know that the lead cast for this film are Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, Ncuti Gatwa, Emma Mackey, and comedian Will Ferrell. But years back, before Gerwig and Warner Bros. had the production rights to the classic Barbie doll, there was a film about the same doll that was supposed to release but failed to when Sony still had the rights.
The movie that was supposed to be released in 2018 had a different set of cast such as Anne Hathaway and Amy Schumer. The latter had exited the production due to a script that she described as ‘wasn’t feminist and cool enough.’
It is not only Schumer that quit the production. There is another talent that took an exit. Diablo Cody, the Academy Award-winner screenwriter for Juno, told ScreenCrush in 2018 that she’s ‘literally incapable of turning in a ‘Barbie’ draft. “God knows I tried,” she said.
During her recent interview with GQ magazine, she reflected on how Sony’s production failed.
“I think I know why I shit the bed,” Cody said. “When I was first hired for this, I don’t think the culture had not embraced the femme or the bimbo as valid feminist archetypes yet. If you look up ‘Barbie’ on TikTok you’ll find this wonderful subculture that celebrates the feminine, but in 2014, taking this skinny blonde white doll and making her into a heroine was a tall order.”
She also claimed that Sony’s plan to pair her and Schumer didn’t work, as she recalled ‘that idea of an anti-Barbie made a lot of sense given the feminist rhetoric of 10 years ago’.
“I didn’t really have the freedom then to write something that was faithful to the iconography; they wanted a girl-boss feminist twist on Barbie, and I couldn’t figure it out because that’s not what Barbie is,” she added.
She also claimed that her inspiration for that ‘Barbie’ film was 2014’s The Lego Movie. The said film grossed over $468 million at the global box office and earned Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (The Lonely Island and Tegan & Sara’s Everything Is Awesome). The said film brought a meta approach to Sony to also emulate that – with a Barbie doll at that time.
“I heard endless references to ‘The Lego Movie’ in development,” Cody told GQ magazine, “and it created a problem for me because they had done it so well. Any time I came up with something meta, it was too much like what they had done. It was a roadblock for me, but now enough time has passed that they can just cast [‘The Lego Movie’ antagonist] Will Ferrell as the antagonist in a real-life Barbie movie and nobody cares.”
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