It's been nearly a full year since we last heard any kind of development on the upcoming Barbie movie... but you didn't think that would be enough to kill it, did you? Instead, Sony Pictures, Mattel and Parkes+MacDonald/Image Nation are still moving ahead with the project, and have even gone as far as to hire Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody to try and boost the in-the-works script.
Deadline has the scoop on Cody's new gig, saying that the Juno writer will be taking the pen from Jenny Bicks - whose credits include the movie What A Girl Wants and television shows like Sex and the City and The Big C. It's noted that the studio and producers hired Cody because of her "unconventionality," and the belief that she can help make Barbie with a proper, modern tone. As producer Walter Parkes put it in an official statement,
It signals we’re going for a legitimately contemporary tone. We’re bringing her on because she had great ideas, but even more importantly, she truly loves Barbie.
Since her big breakout with Juno in 2007, Diablo Cody's career has had its bits of ups and downs. Obviously her Oscar win was a rather big up; but the box office disappointment of her sophomore effort, Jennifer's Body, was a big down. She picked her self back up with successes like Young Adult and The United States of Tara, but didn't exactly get a good critical or box office response to her directorial debut, 2013's Paradise. Still, it's weirdly possible that Barbie could be the movie that puts her in the spotlight again.
As has been previously reported, the new movie will see her take on what's described as a Mary Poppins kind of role, using her wide variety of personal and professional skills to " step into the lives of others and improve them." Tonally, the direction that the project is looking for is something akin to what Phil Lord and Chris Miller did with The LEGO Movie -and that's honestly terrific to hear. There will surely be a lot of room to both respect the long history of the titular toy, while also backing it with self-referential, meta, and self-deprecating humor. There is a lot of potential for this to go horribly wrong, but it could also wind up being a surprising and amazing success.
Most recently, Diablo Cody wrote the script for Jonathan Demme's Ricki and the Flash, which stars Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Sebastian Stan, and that film will be arriving in theaters this August. As of now, there doesn't seem to be any kind of specific timetable for Barbie, but it's all the better if Sony and the producers want to take time to make sure that the project is 100 percent ready before starting production.