Margot Robbie and the cast of the doll-inspired film discuss breaking Barbie etiquette

‘It’s a different world'
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Five years ago, Margot Robbie was circling the entertainment industry with a Barbie film in mind. When the time was right, her production company LuckyChap Entertainment, which she operates alongside husband Tom Ackerley, took their pitch to toy company Mattel.

“It just seemed like a big, exciting and scary opportunity,” Margot, 32, says of taking on Barbie during her media tour of Australia. “The word itself is globally recognised and people have very strong feelings about Barbie, in different ways, so it seemed like a good place to start.

Barbie is written and directed by Greta Gerwig.

(Image: Supplied)

“You can love, hate or be indifferent to Barbie and still enjoy this film. We felt we could do something special with it.”

Barbie is written and directed by Greta Gerwig, known for 2017’s Lady Bird and Little Women in 2019. To bring Barbie into the modern era, she had to acknowledge her flaws – which since the doll launched in 1959 have been a point of contention in that she seemingly has none – and be someone who resonated with the audience.

“I think this film can cut across generations and genders,” she says. “Everyone can find a pink, glittery existential dance party in their heart.”

“I think this film can cut across generations and genders.”

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“I didn’t want to portray Barbie as being vapid in any way.”

(Image: Supplied)

For America Ferrera, who is of Honduran descent and didn’t grow up playing with Barbie, joining the cast as Gloria was an opportunity to open up the world.

“I never imagined myself in something like this, but this film feels important,” America, 39, says. “Throughout the legacy, there were times Barbie was a revolution and other times when she was way behind her time and needed to catch up.

“I get to be part of a moment that is expanding an iconic female character to include more of us who feel valued and represented.”

In the film, Margot plays Stereotypical Barbie.

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Issa Rae, who plays President Barbie, says joining the cast was a “no-brainer”, but did so carefully, ensuring there were no concerns around tokenism.

“My concern was being tokenised and who else was being represented. But walking on set, all my fears were quelled,” Issa, 38, says. “There was diversity of all types.”

In the film, Margot plays Stereotypical Barbie, who is expelled from Barbie Land for being less than perfect and is forced to go on a journey of self-discovery in the real world. Along for the ride is Ken, played by Ryan Gosling.

“I didn’t want to portray Barbie as being vapid in any way,” Margot says. “The way our story is constructed, she can be anything – president, a Nobel Prize winner etc. You see how intelligent she is, but she hasn’t been exposed to as many concepts as she would in the real world.

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“It’s a fine line of naivety without being unintelligent.”

(Image: Supplied)

“It’s a fine line of naivety without being unintelligent. We can play it up at times, but also tap into deeper conversations.”

No matter how you feel about Barbie, or what you think the film will be, Margot insists it’s a film “for everyone”.

“It’s a great movie,” she says. “You should watch it because it’s so well-crafted. We have cast and crew who are working at the highest level. But it also happens to be extremely fun.”

As of September 12, Barbie is available for steaming – digitally own or rent for 48-hours – on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Foxtel Store and many more.

Stream Barbie now on Prime Video with a 30-day free trial. Subscribe here.

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