When major toy company Mattel noticed during the 1990s that one of their flagship franchise, the iconic fashion doll brand Barbie, was losing ground to some serious competition, one of their ideas for making the line relevant again with girls and young children was the development of a direct-to-video 3D-CGI animated film series, beginning with 2001’s “Barbie in The Nutcracker.” Over the last two decades, the movies Mattel produced with a variety of animation studios brought some respectable revenue and kept Barbie in the spotlight. But aside from this animated universe, there has been some discussion on making a live-action adaptation, which intensified recently following the announcement of a director.
Vanity Fair tells us that the years-spanning percolation of a live-action “Barbie” movie took a significant step towards realization over the past weekend. The word is that filming for the project, set to star Australian actress Margot Robbie (“Suicide Squad”), will begin next year in 2022. Furthermore, filmmaker Greta Gerwig, already co-writing the script treatment alongside Noah Baumbach, has taken up the director’s chair to bring the plastic world of Barbara Millicent Roberts (yes, Barbie’s full name) to live action, and present it on the big screen for the first time (barring “Toy Story” appearances).
Gerwig has some major Hollywood clout while going into the development of the “Barbie” film, seeing as her last feature-length directorial effort, a new adaptation of classic novel “Little Women” (2019) from Sony/Columbia Pictures starring Emma Watson and Florence Pugh, was highly-rated by reviewers and got six nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards (winning Best Costume Design). This development was noted by prospective star Robbie, who says that while understandable that making a Barbie movie invites criticism due to “nostalgic baggage,” having a proven auteur like Gerwig as writer-director finally gets naysayers to “shut up.”
But before Barbie can come on and go party as it were, the lead star and the writing-directing team must first finish up their current projects. Margot Robbie is reprising DC Comics anti-heroine Harley Quinn in Warner-DC Films’ upcoming “The Suicide Squad” from director James Gunn. It premieres this coming July 30. Director Greta Gerwig and co-writer Noah Baumbach are also working on Netflix original movie “White Noise,” where Gerwig is co-starring opposite Adam Driver (Kylo Ren of Disney’s “Star Wars” fame), for release in 2022. “Barbie” is to be produced by Mattel Films and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Image courtesy of Paper Magazine