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Barbie: 8 Quick Things We Know About The Margot Robbie Movie

Margot Robbie in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Barbie has long been one of the most popular and recognizable toys, but unlike many other dolls and action figures introduced in the time since its launch in 1959, there has not been a live-action movie based on the property. That will soon change with the upcoming Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie as the iconic figurine and Ryan Gosling as her longtime companion, Ken. 

But, the movie, which will be directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Greta Gerwig, doesn’t sound like it will be your standard toy-to-movie adaptation. In fact, it sounds like something completely different and much more powerful. Here is everything we know about the Barbie movie.

Margot Robbie in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

The Live-Action Barbie Movie Is Slated For A 2023 Theatrical Release

The Barbie movie is still in the middle of pre-production, but the upcoming movie already has a release window. In July 2021, when Variety announced that the project was officially moving forward after years of starts and stops (more on those later on), it was revealed that Barbie is slated for a 2023 theatrical release. It will most likely be quite some time before we learn more about the exact date, including information on whether it will be a summer debut or something more geared towards an awards candidate, but expect to hear more as the project moves along.

Margot Robbie in Wolf of Wall Street and Ryan Gosling in La La Land, stars of Barbie movie

(Image credit: Paramount/Summit)

The Barbie Cast Includes Margot Robbie And Ryan Gosling

When the Barbie movie opens in theaters it will see two-time Oscar nominee Margot Robbie taking on the role of the iconic doll in the first live-action movie based on the Mattel line of toys. Robbie, who will also produce the upcoming film, has been attached to star since October 2018, and officially signed on to star in January 2019.

 As for Ryan Gosling, he signed to portray Ken in the Barbie movie in October 2021, after extensive talks with Mattel Films and Warner Bros. Pictures, which is releasing the movie. According to Deadline, Gosling initially turned down the offer to play Barbie’s longtime male companion, but decided to sign on for the project following multiple delays in the film’s pre-production and multiple conversations with a persistent Warner Bros. 

It has yet to be revealed who will be joining Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in the Barbie cast, but with dozens of characters to choose from, and an ambitious team leading the project, there are several possibilities.

Greta Gerwig in Mistress Americana

(Image credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Greta Gerwig Will Direct Barbie, Which She Co-Wrote With Noah Baumbach

Sitting in the director’s chair for Barbie will be Greta Gerwig, who has established herself as one of the strongest voices in Hollywood in recent years with Lady Bird and Little Women. The news was confirmed by Variety (in the same article mentioned above) after word began to spread that the Academy Award-nominated filmmaker was the top choice to lead the production. Not only will Gerwig be directing the toy-to-film adaptation, she also wrote the screenplay alongside her partner and longtime creative collaborator, Noah Baumbach. 

Considering previous efforts by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, both together and separately, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting the standard movie based on an iconic toy line, but instead something unique and fresh.

Margot Robbie in The Wolf of Wall Street

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Margot Robbie Has Described Barbie As ‘Something Totally Different’ From What People Would Expect From The Property

Ever since her LuckyChap production company got involved with Barbie, Margot Robbie has been championing the movie we still know very little about, at least concerning the plot. During a December 2020 conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Robbie opened up about LuckyChap’s producing strategy that has led to successful movies like I, Tonya and Promising Young Woman in recent years, and how they’re taking that approach with Barbie:

And we like the things that feel a little left of center. Something like Barbie where the IP, the name itself, people immediately have an idea of, ‘Oh, Margot is playing Barbie, I know what that is,’ but our goal is to be like, ‘Whatever you’re thinking, we’re going to give you something totally different — the thing you didn’t know you wanted.’

Later on, when asked if hiring Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach to draw up the story would help subvert expectations, Margot Robbie explained that the goal is to both honor the Barbie property while also surprising people and provoking thoughtful conversations.

Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie in Bombshell

(Image credit: Lionsgate)

The Barbie Movie Will Have A Message Of ‘Female Empowerment’ As Well As A Diverse Cast

Not only will the Barbie movie be “something totally different” from what people expect, it will also have a message of “female empowerment” according to one of its producers. During a panel at Fortune’s 2019 Brainstorm Tech conference, Robbie Brenner, the executive producer of Mattel Films explained that the movie, which was still very early in development at that point, would have a message that you can make all your dreams come true and that it’s important “to push the boundaries.” 

During that same panel, Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz pledged that Barbie, as well as other film projects, would have a diverse cast of actors, pointing to the Barbie toy line’s history of having dolls of various ethnicities.

Barbie and Ken in Toy Story 3

(Image credit: Pixar)

Production On Barbie Is Set To Get Underway In Early 2022 In London

Although no story details have been revealed at this time, and the rest of the cast has yet to be fleshed out, production on Barbie is set to get underway in early 2022 at Warner Bros.’ Leavesden Studios in London, according to the Variety article mentioned earlier. The duration of the shoot is another part of the production that remains a mystery at this time.

Amy Schumer in Trainwreck; Anne Hathaway in The Intern

(Image credit: Universal Pictures ; Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Barbie Movie Has Been In The Works For A Number Of Years, With Amy Schumer And Anne Hathaway Previously Attached To Star

The Barbie movie isn’t coming out until 2023 at the earliest, but the project has been in the works for several years now, even before Margot Robbie signed on to star and produce the first live-action film based on the property. Back in December 2016, it was revealed that Amy Schumer was attached to star in a movie based off the Mattel line in which she would play a character that didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the dolls in Barbieland, and would end up going on an adventure in the real world. 

The next summer, Schumer was out of the project and Anne Hathaway was in the running for the lead role. That version of the Barbie movie, which was being handled by Sony Pictures and Mattel films, was supposed to open in theaters on June 29, 2018, but that date came and went and Barbie is still in pre-production. 

barbie dance marathon youtube screenshot

(Image credit: YouTube)

Barbie Will Be The First Release From Mattel Films

Not only will Barbie be the first live-action movie based on the iconic doll, it will also be the first release from Mattel Films, a division of the toy manufacturer launched in 2018. According to a Los Angeles Times article, Mattel started the film branch as a way to better focus its efforts on developing and producing movies based on its toy brands. With a massive collection of successful toys and other properties, Barbie is just the first of many projects that could come to theaters in the coming years.

It doesn’t look like we’ll see Barbie in theaters for at least another year and change, but while we wait to see what Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie have in store for the property, why not check out all the 2022 new movie releases that are slated to come out in the meantime. Oh, and don’t forget to check out the remaining 2021 movies before it’s too late. 

Philip Sledge

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.