After a worldwide fan event tour, Barbie finally made its debut at the film’s world premiere in Los Angeles on Sunday, on a pink carpet that had been transformed into a real-life Barbie Land.
Greta Gerwig — who directed and co-wrote (with partner Noah Baumbach, who skipped the event due to the writers strike) the film — looked back on its origin, with a script that star Margot Robbie said when she first read it was sure it would never get made.
“We wrote it at such a specific time, in the midst of lockdown and everything else, and I was like, I don’t even know if there’s going to be movies again, but if there are, let’s write the most outrageous, anarchic , hilarious thing,” she told The News84Media. “Let’s imaginary go out with a bang. It was something where I decided I had to direct it once the script was written and it was really like I just wanted to make that one, that was the one. So I was like if we can’t do it that’s fine, but I hope they let us.”
Gerwig also weighed in on the viral response to Robbie’s Barbie foot, which stays arched when stepping out of her heels — and when her feet suddenly go flat, something is awry in Barbie Land.
Saying she did not expect the reaction at all, the director added, “I did always think of the arched foot as like a bat signal, but everybody was like ‘I’ve heard the bat signal, I’ve answered the call!’ ”
Issa Rae, who stars as President Barbie, joked, “Thank god they weren’t taking off my shoe in the film because the arch wouldn’t be as graceful. I was surprised, I was like, ‘Margot, that was your foot?’ And she was like, ‘Yeah.’ The confidence you have to have in that, it just says everything about her. Everything you need to know about her is the fact that she has her own arched foot effortlessly in that movie. And it’s already an iconic foot. I would’ve still been there if it was me, they would’ve been like, ‘Alright, take 230, just please get it right.’ I’m a flat-footed girl.”
Gerwig also addressed the Barbie vs. Oppenheimer rivalry that has developed, as the two films both feature superstar casts and release in theaters on July 21.
“It’s all love — double up, double up twice,” she said of the two movies. “I think you’ve got to see what the experience is, Barbie then Oppenheimer, Oppenheimer then Barbie. I think you’ve got to take all of the journeys.”
Rae added that she thinks the competition between the films “is hilarious; I love that there’s solidarity though where people tried to pit us against one another but now it’s turned into like a double-feature situation. Obviously you should see Oppenheimer first and then cleanse your palate with Barbie.”
She explained of going with Barbie second that Christopher Nolan’s film is “about an atomic bomb, people are gonna die. I want to end my weekend, I want to have mimosas and drinks and cocktails after BarbieI don’t want to sulk,” teasing, “That’s just my plan, as long as you’re seeing Barbie I don’t care.”
Of the movie’s many Easter eggs, Robbie teased of her favorites is “there’s a moment when Ruth Handler, who created Barbie, and the Barbie I play meet, and when she hands her a cup of tea, our hands touch like the Michelangelo — it’s a biblical reference but Greta snuck her in there.” The star also spends plenty of time on rollerblades once she gets to the real world, as America Ferrera, who shares those scenes with Robbie, joked of the skating, “I was like, why are you so good at this? And I was like, ‘Oh yeah, you played Tonya Harding, got it.’”
Ferrera also reflected on seeing the Barbie Land sets for the first time, saying even as someone who didn’t play with Barbies: “It just evoked a deeper childhood nostalgia for imagination and play and beauty and I just got emotional, I started crying. The world Greta created is just unbelievable; she’s such a visionary.”
Added Simu Liu, who plays one of the Kens, “it’s kind of perpetual sunset in Barbie Land, it’s always golden hour; it’s kind of like a Chloe Zhao movie, the sun is always hitting at the right angle. A lot of pink, probably more pink than I’ve ever experienced in my lifetime.” Liu also faces off with Ryan Gosling’s Ken in the film, teasing, “Oh, we battle. It’s a delicious dynamic to play, especially for two Canadians who are supposed to be very polite by nature. I think we had to channel our inner American a little bit, a little butting of heads. But I’m really excited for people to see the relationship unfold.”
Barbie hits theaters July 21.
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