Margot Robbie left a pink present for Ryan Gosling every day on ‘Barbie’

Margot Robbie covers the summer edition of Vogue, obviously to promote Barbie. I went into this thinking it was just going to be a by-the-books celebrity profile, but magically, it’s so much better. Margot talks a lot about Barbie, of course, but most of her perspective is as a producer, because she was putting this together and trying to get it made for years. She was the on who brought Greta Gerwig on-board as co-writer (along with Noah Baumbach) and director. Margot was the one meeting with Mattel and Warner Bros. This Vogue piece also includes lots of backstory on how they approached the whole concept of “a movie about Barbie,” as well as quotes from Greta and Ryan Gosling and several of the actresses playing other Barbies. Some highlights:

Whether she ever thought about wanting to be Barbie: “It wasn’t that I ever wanted to play Barbie, or dreamt of being Barbie, or anything like that. This is going to sound stupid, but I really didn’t even think about playing Barbie until years into developing the project.”

Ryan Gosling as Ken: “The greatest version of Ryan Gosling ever put on screen,” in Robbie’s estimation. (Gosling: “Ken wasn’t really on my bucket list. But in fairness, I don’t have a bucket list. So I thought I’d give it a shot.”) In Barbieland, Ken is basically another fashion accessory. “Barbie has a great day every day,” we are told in voiceover delivered by Helen Mirren. “Ken only has a great day if Barbie looks at him.” Mattel introduced the first Ken doll in 1961, in response to letters demanding Barbie get a boyfriend. “Barbie was invented first,” Gerwig points out. “Ken was invented after Barbie, to burnish Barbie’s position in our eyes and in the world. That kind of creation myth is the opposite of the creation myth in Genesis.”

Gal Gadot was almost Barbie: During the casting process, Gerwig and Robbie looked for “Barbie energy,” a certain ineffable combination of beauty and exuberance they concluded is embodied in Gal Gadot. Robbie: “Gal Gadot is Barbie energy. Because Gal Gadot is so impossibly beautiful, but you don’t hate her for being that beautiful, because she’s so genuinely sincere, and she’s so enthusiastically kind, that it’s almost dorky. It’s like right before being a dork.” (Gadot wasn’t available.)

Sentient Barbie: Breezing through the choreography at the front of the pack, she suddenly turns to the other Barbies and asks: “Do you guys ever think about dying?” Later she wakes up and finds her feet are no longer arched. “I have no context for this but my heels are on the ground,” she says. “You’re malfunctioning,” another Barbie tells her.

Gosling on the gifts Margot left for him: “She left a pink present with a pink bow, from Barbie to Ken, every day while we were filming. They were all beach-related. Like puka shells, or a sign that says ‘Pray for surf.’ Because Ken’s job is just beach. I’ve never quite figured out what that means. But I felt like she was trying to help Ken understand, through these gifts that she was giving.”

Gerwig was inspired by the 1994 bestseller Reviving Ophelia. “My mom would check out books from the library about parenting, and then I would read them,” Gerwig says. The book describes an abrupt change that happens in American girls when they hit adolescence and begin to bend to external expectations. “They’re funny and brash and confident, and then they just—stop,” Gerwig says. This memory bubbled up early in the writing and Gerwig found it “jarring,” the realization that this is where the story had to go: “How is this journey the same thing that a teenage girl feels? All of a sudden, she thinks, Oh, I’m not good enough.”

Margot loves food but she doesn’t cook. “In our friendship group in LA and London, all the guys cook, and love cooking, and are really good at it. And none of the girls cook, and we love drinking, and we’re really good at it.” Robbie finds cooking stressful. She gets distracted easily: “Everything lights on fire in the kitchen. I’m not even kidding.”

[From Vogue]

There’s also some stuff about how Robbie found it difficult to do the kind of preparation she would normally do before a film, like how do you research how to play a sentient doll? So Greta Gerwig arranged for all of the Barbies to watch a film every week, films which they could use as references. It seems like the Barbies were also encouraged to think about who owns them or what kind of person or kid plays with them as a way of informing their characters. It’s interesting. I came away from it feeling like Greta really did her research on the history of Barbie, and that Margot is the kind of producer who trusts the people she hires. Mattel was probably sh-tting bricks at first but I hope they realize that they’ve got one of the most buzzed-about films of the year.

Cover & IG courtesy of Vogue.

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18 Responses to “Margot Robbie left a pink present for Ryan Gosling every day on ‘Barbie’”

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  1. HeyKay says:

    They are hyping this movie like crazy.
    Gotta give Margo credit, she does the PR kinda like Cruise. She is old school on PR for her movies, I like that. 👍
    I might watch this when it hits streaming.

    Oppenheimer the Chris Nolan/Cillian Murphy is opening on the same day. Which I think is an odd time for such a serious film, summer is usually fluffy, fun, kids movies.
    I do plan to watch Oppenheimer when that hits streaming.
    Movie theaters, for me, are of the past.

    • Jessi says:

      I heard a rumor that Oppenheimer tried to change its opening day to later in the summer and I like to think that Christopher Nolan saw the first trailer and was like “NOPE, we cannot stand against this! We gotta move!”

      • Yup, Me says:

        Good. I am here for the downfall of all Chris Nolan films from now on. Ever since that Tenet film terrorized me and I found out he did that shit sound mix on purpose, he is now my nemesis.

  2. Lisa says:

    Hmmmmmm. She’s so beautiful and statuesque and they’ve got her hunched over like she’s trying to fit on the cover. I can’t decide if it’s a terrible shot or if it’s supposed to make her look like a Barbie.

    • Coco says:

      Yes the cover is so bad. They had a chance to do something extremely creative like put her in a Barbie box or something and they did this.

      Why is she hunched over in all of these photos.

    • Concern Fae says:

      And it’s crazy because Vogue can make anyone look good! WTF?

  3. Muggs says:

    The more I read/see about this the more I want to see it. I love that I went from “who cares” to “wtf I CAN’T WAIT” in a few months. More Barbie content please! 😂

  4. ariel says:

    This might be the movie that gets me back to the theatre. It looks like so much fun.

    I loved my Barbies. And this looks like great fun.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Yeah, a movie’s got to really draw me in for me to want to leave the comfort of my couch. The last one I saw in a theater was A Man Called Otto (I loved the book). Definitely worth the uncomfortable seating and I’ll endure it again for Barbie!

  5. Ameerah M says:

    I am SO glad Gal Gadot was not unavailable. She does not have the acting chops for a role like this. I said what I said. I am really excited for this film. More than I was expecting to be. I was an avid Barbie collector and player as a little girl and she still holds a place in my heart – with me also recognizing how problematic she was. I think the film will walk that line between that dichotomy of love/nostalgia and recognition of the issues with a doll lake Barbie.

    Also – LOVE this Vogue cover!

    • Normades says:

      Yea nothing against Gal but that was so not the right choice. Margo looks like she’s nailing this.

  6. Matilda says:

    It’s funny that Margot didn’t think about playing Barbie for years because this is one of the roles she was born to play. Wasn’t Amy Schumer supposed to play Barbie at one point?

  7. Digital Unicorn says:

    I love Margot – she’s funny, beautiful and she can act. I hadn’t realised she was the producer on this – good for her. she’s produced some interesting projects.

    Am so glad Gal Gadot did NOT get cast – she’s not a great actress and am still baffled in how she got cast as Wonder Woman.

  8. Duch says:

    I love Ryan’s energy about this movie. He cracks me up !

  9. Dee Kay says:

    I can’t wait to see this movie in a theater. I don’t know if it’ll be good but I feel confident it won’t be bad. Like, at worst, it’ll be a fun great-looking summer romp and who knows, maybe Gerwig and Robbie have made something hilarious and transcendent. Robbie is perfect for this part I can’t believe she EP’d and didn’t think for a long time it would be her playing Barbie.

    • BeanieBean says:

      This one for me has the same appeal as Barb & Star go to Vista Del Mar. If you haven’t seen it, do so immediately! It is hilariously looney & I think this Barbie movie will be as well.

  10. j.ferber says:

    I love Greta Gerwig, but I just don’t want to see this movie at all. It depresses me. Honestly.

  11. Nibbi says:

    She truly hadn’t thought of the role for herself? What the hell? I have a hard time believing that. She has Barbie’s face, she’s beautiful in that almost too-perfect way.