“An Extraordinary Blessing”: Greta Gerwig on the ‘Barbie’ Movie Hype

Margot Robbie in Greta Gerwig's Barbie movie.

The global press tour for the highly anticipated Barbie movie had kicked off at Icebergs in Sydney. On Thursday, June 29, writer/director Greta Gerwig, producer and star Margot Robbie, and actors Issa Rae and America Ferrera greeted the Australian press to chat all things Barbie.

Asked how it feels to have written and directed one of the most highly anticipated films of the year, Gerwig said that the response “feels like such an extraordinary blessing”.

“We’re at the beach and we’re in Australia, and all these talented people, I really am… what a spectacular life this is!” Gerwig gushed.

“It’s overwhelming and amazing, and I feel very grateful that Margot came to me almost four years ago and said ‘would you want to write Barbie? A Barbie thing?’ and I’m grateful that in my post-partum haze of four years ago, I said yes!”

How Barbie Came to Be

The Barbie movie was originally announced way back in 2014. Obama was President of the United States. Australia didn’t have marriage equality. COVID wasn’t a thing. You know… it was a long time ago. Now, Barbie is just weeks away from release. But how did this version of the film come into fruition?

At the Sydney press conference, Margot Robbie shed some light on how Barbie made its way out of production hell.

“I was aware that the Barbie IP (intellectual property) was floating around — it had kind of gone up and running and hadn’t gone to full fruition,” Robbie began. “We’d been keeping tabs on the property, and when it seemed like there was an opening we kind of jumped at the opportunity.”

Robbie recalled that five years ago, she — along with her production company LuckyChap Entertainment — sat down with Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz to pitch what they “would want to do with a Barbie movie”.

“I knew even at that time that I would wanna do it with someone like Greta Gerwig,” Robbie said. “She was the dream writer/director for it. I didn’t know if she was going to say yes to it, but there were very few people in my mind that I’d wanna make a Barbie movie with… thank goodness she said yes!”

With the amount of global recognition that Barbie has, Robbie said that “it seemed like a very big, and exciting, and scary opportunity”, especially because “people have very strong feelings about Barbie in a lot of cases”.

“It felt like a really exciting place to start a film,” she explained, “to start … with the audience where they already feel a certain way perhaps, but at the very least, they have associated childhood memories with it. It just seemed like we could do something special with it.”

For the full timeline of the Barbie film, keep scrolling.

Barbie Down Under

The Barbie Australian tour was announced in mid-June.

“Guess what, Barbie fans? You don’t have to go all the way to Barbieland to hang with Barbie!” Margot Robbie said in a video promoting the trip. “I’ll see you soon, Australia!”

With Robbie for the Sydney stop of the global Barbie world tour are her co-stars America Ferrera and Issa Rae, along with Barbie writer and director Greta Gerwig. Sadly, Ryan Gosling isn’t here for the fun, but we’ll live. He’s just Ken, after all.

The Barbie girls aren’t just doing press on this tour, though. Australian fans will be able to see the stars in real life, also.

On Friday, June 30, Westfield is hosting a fan event called ‘Barbie’s Best Day Ever at Westfield Sydney’. The event will take place at Westfield’s Pitt Street Mall, with Gerwig, Robbie, Ferrera and Rae will all be in attendance. Fans are encouraged to dress in their Barbie-best pink, and to bring their favourite Barbie dolls along with them for the chance to win prizes.

What Is the Barbie Movie Actually About?

Until recently, we didn’t have much of an idea about what the Barbie movie would actually be about. Universal Pictures dropped the first Barbie teaser trailer back in December, which began with an homage to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Then, they dropped the second teaser at the beginning of April, which sent the internet into a spiral all over again. The second teaser revealed that there are several other versions of Barbie and Ken who’ll be appearing alongside Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, as well as a whole heap of Barbie Easter eggs.

The second teaser gave us a better look at Barbie Land, the saccharine pink world where Barbie and Ken live, but also showed them breaking free and heading into the real world.

Aside from Robbie, the second teaser showed Issa Rae as President Barbie, Emma Mackey as Physicist Barbie, Nicola Coughlan as Diplomat Barbie, Alexandra Shipp as Author Barbie, Dua Lipa as Mermaid Barbie and Hari Nef as Doctor Barbie.

Breaking Down the Barbie Main Trailer

The latest Barbie trailer gives us a better sense of what the film will actually be about.

We enter Barbie’s perfect world with her floating down into Barbie Land. Barbie’s not doing anything special that night, she tells Ken, before inviting to her “giant, blow out party, with all the Barbies, planned choreography, and a bespoke song”.

Barbie is living a life where every day is the best day ever, until one day… it’s not.

“Do you guys ever think about dying?” Barbie asks the other Barbies, mid-choreography. The fun grinds to a halt, and from there, we watch as Barbie reckons with her newfound awareness. She falls off her roof, her feet go flat (gasp!), it’s bad for her.

From there, Barbie is presented with a choice: Go back to her old life, or know the truth about the real world. She chooses the former, but the wheels are already in motion.

Barbie embarks on her journey into the real world, and Ken is… also there!

“If you love Barbie, this movie is for you,” the trailer states. “If you hate Barbie, this movie is for you.”

We then get glimpses of Barbie and Ken’s adventure, and it is chaos. They get arrested, visit a school, attempt to perform an appendectomy, and finally, take on Mattel.

Barbie: The Album: The Complete Tracklist

Here’s the deal. The Barbie soundtrack? It’s going to go hard. Just look at this line up:


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Leading the film’s soundtrack will be Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night”, which was produced by Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt and the Picard Brothers. The album is executive produced by Ronson, as well as Barbie director, writer and executive producer, Greta Gerwig.

When Barbie: The Album was first announced, there were two tracks yet to be revealed. Now, it’s been confirmed that the final two tracks will be “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish, and “Man I Am” by Sam Smith. Both Eilish and Smith have previously won Academy Awards for Best Original Song, which could be an early indicator of things to come. Here is the complete Barbie: The Album tracklist.

  1. Lizzo – “Pink”
  2. Dua Lipa – “Dance the Night”
  3. Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice – “Barbie World (with Aqua)”
  4. Charli XCX – “Speed Drive”
  5. KAROL G – “WATITI (feat. Aldo Ranks)”
  6. Billie Eilish – “What Was I Made For?”
  7. Tame Impala – “Journey to the Real World”
  8. Ryan Gosling – “I’m Just Ken”
  9. Dominic Fike – “Hey Blondie”
  10. HAIM – “Home”
  11. Sam Smith – “Man I Am”
  12. The Kid LAROI – “Forever & Again”
  13. Khalid – “Silver Platter”
  14. PinkPantheress – “Angel”
  15. GAYLE – “butterflies”
  16. Ava Max – “Choose Your Fighter”
  17. FIFTY FIFTY – “Barbie Dreams (feat. Kali)”

Barbie the Album will be released on July 21, 2023.

Will the Barbie Soundtrack Feature “Barbie Girl” by Aqua?

It’s the question on every older millennial’s mind. Will the Barbie movie feature “Barbie Girl”, the iconic europop anthem that took the world by storm in 1997?

The answer is yes, and no. The main trailer ends with the song “Barbie World” by Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice. It’s a new track written for the film, but it prominently samples Aqua’s classic “Barbie Girl”.

With the surge in pop music that samples the hits of the late ’90s (see also “I’m Good (Blue)” and “Praising You“) this smells like a hit to us.

Behind-the-Scenes of Barbie

As Barbie was being filmed in public, there were a tonne of images and videos leaked online, which Margot Robbie was not too pleased about.

“I can’t tell you how mortified we were, by the way,” she said of the photos while appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

“We look like we’re like laughing, having fun, but [we’re] dying on the inside… dying. I was like, this is the most humiliating moment of my life.”

One viral clip from the filming featured the very first snippet of Robbie in character as Barbie, voice and all.

The clip shows Robbie rollerblading in an all-pink ensemble, talking to America Ferrera.

“Ready for fun?!” she can be heard exclaiming, as she grabs Ferrera’s hand.

All we can say is that after such a long wait, yes, we are very much ready for fun.

The Timeline to Barbie

The road to Barbie has been a long one. Talks of the film began way back in 2014 at Sony Pictures, and over the years, has changed directions many times, swapping out stars, writers, and even changing hands from Sony Pictures to Warner Bros.

Here’s how the Greta Gerwig / Margot Robbie version of Barbie came to be:


Sony announces Barbie, hot off the heels of films like Transformers and The Lego Movie. The film is will be a comedy, and Jenny Bicks (Sex and the City, The Greatest Showman) signs on to write the script.

Early 2015

Diablo Cody (Juno) boards to project to re-write Bicks’ script

Late 2015

Sony scraps the original script and orders three new ones, by Lindsey Beer, Bert Royal; and Hilary Winston, but Cody remains attached to the project. Sony is aiming for a June 2017 release.

Late 2016

Amy Schumer signs on to play Barbie as Sony settles on Winston’s version of the script. The film is now about a woman who gets kicked out of Barbieville for being less than perfect, and is forced to live in the real world. Think Enchanted, but with Barbie.

Early 2017

Schumer drops out of the project less than four months after signing on, citing scheduling conflicts.

Mid 2017

Reports circulate that Anne Hathaway is in talks to take over the titular role, and Alethea Jones signs on to direct. Sony is now aiming for an August 2018 release date.

Early 2018

Sony pushes the film to a 2020 release date. In April, Cody officially departs the project and says that she never even produced an initial draft of the project. Speaking to Screen Crush, Cody says that she “was literally incapable of writing a Barbie script”, adding “God knows I tried”.

Early 2019

Surprise! Suddenly, Sony Pictures has left the project, and Warner Bros. has signed on. Hathaway has departed the project, and Warner Bros announces that Margot Robbie will play Barbie. The script — whichever version we’re up to now — is now in the hands of Olivia Milch, who co-wrote Ocean’s 8. Robbie also signs on to co-produce.


Greta Gerwig signs on to direct, and signs her partner Noah Baumbach up to co-write the script with her. Which script? Who can say?

Early 2022

At long last, Barbie officially begins filming.

Barbie Movie Australian Release Date

Barbie will hit cinemas on July 20, 2023 in Australian cinemas. Buy tickets here.

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