Photo: Warner Bros. pictures
The mystery around the Barbie movie just keeps building. After all, making a live-action Barbie movie is one thing, but making a Barbie movie directed by indie darling Greta Gerwig of Lady Bird and Little Women fame is a completely different beast. The movie is still a while out — set to release June 21, 2023 — but the hype is building with each new plot detail, photograph, and unearthed Letterboxd account we get. the movie has also been snatching up Hollywood celebs in its manicured plastic fists to the point where it’s getting harder and harder to keep track. Here’s all the casting, plot, and release information we know so far. C’mon, jump in.
First, we know Gerwig and her husband, Marriage Story writer Noah Baumbach, are writing the screenplay and Gerwig is directing. We also know Margot Robbie took on the starring role of the Mattel doll after Amy Schumer dropped out over creative differences, and Ryan Gosling will play Ken. Photos of both the stars have been released, and if neither of them makes your heart flutter, you’re boring!
No, we don’t. What we do know is one thing it won’t be about. Schumer left the project because she very specifically wanted Barbie to be an “ambitious inventor.” She dropped out before Gerwig and Baumbach came onto the project but after the studio asked her if Barbie’s invention could be a “high heel made out of Jell-O.” That was absolutely sexist but also sounds fun to try on.
Before being produced by Warner Bros, the movie was originally going to be produced by Sony and had “a fish-out-of-water story a la splash and big, whereby Barbie gets kicked out of Barbieland because she’s not perfect enough, a bit eccentric and doesn’t fit in,” Deadline reported. In the original plot, “She then goes on an adventure in the real world and by the time she returns to Barbieland to save it, she has gained the realization that perfection comes on the inside, not the outside, and that the key to happiness is belief in oneself, free of the obligation to adhere to some unattainable standard of perfection.” It’s unclear if that is the plot of Gerwig and Baumbach’s version of the script, but it’s safe to assume these icons of mumblecore are going to weird it up somehow.
Every actor you’ve heard of in the past five years is either in this movie or in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. Sex Education standout and Margot Robbie clone Emma Mackey will be in the movie, giving Robbie and Mackey a chance to prove they’re not actually the same person in different fonts. (Now all we need is for Samara Weaving and Jaime Pressly to join the cast for true ascendance.) Beyond that uncanny double act, it is rumored that multiple actors will play both Barbie and Ken. Hari Nef and Issa Rae are also reportedly playing Barbies, and Ryan Gosling is joined in Ken-ly duties by Simu Liu and new Doctor Who (and fellow Sex Education alum) Ncuti Gatwa.
Will Ferrell is also appearing, meaning he’ll now be the star of two separate shockingly intellectual toy-based films. He will be taking on a role as the CEO of a toy company in an apparent nod to Mattel, the company that manufactures Barbies, Hot Wheels, and American Girl dolls. Michael Cera, America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Ariana Greenblatt, and Alexandra Shipp will also be joining the Barbie cast in as yet unspecified roles.
probably not. Saoirse Ronan is also rumored to be joining the cast, and so is pop star Dua Lipa. Life in plastic just won’t be fully fantastic until we have more details.
This story has been updated throughout.