“First and foremost, I wanted Barbie Land to feel like a happy place – where Barbie lives in our childhood imaginations.”
Says Greta Gerwig, who directed the highly anticipated “Barbie” movie. The best way to achieve this? Pink, and lots of it! “One of the first days I met with [production designer] Sarah Greenwood and the art team, we looked at all the different shades of pink to determine how they would interact,” adds Gerwig. “As a little girl, I liked the brightest pinks, but Barbie Land would incorporate the full spectrum of the color, so it was important to figure out where those bright pinks would live alongside our palest, pastel pink, and of course every tone of pink in between.”
Another unique thing about Barbie Land: “There’s no place for Newton’s laws in Barbie Land,” says Gerwig. “There is no wind, there is no sun, no gravity and no water, but as filmmakers we do live in a world of physics, so when dealing with the reality of Barbie Land, there were the rules of Barbie Land and then there were the rules we’ve set up for the filmmaking, and then how those two things interacted. I’m in love with 1950s soundstage musicals, those wonderfully artificial spaces, and because Barbie was invented in 1959, it felt like we could ground everything in that look and not be so beholden to it. I want everyone to feel like they can reach up to the screen and touch everything, because that’s the great thing about dolls and toys.”
Gerwig grew up with Barbie. She shares that when she was little, “I was always waiting for our neighbors’ children to grow tired of theirs so they would give me the hand-me-down Barbies. That was the big thing I was always looking forward to. I have a very vivid, visceral memory of Barbie and what it meant.”
Her own love for Barbie when she was a kid helped Gerwig understand Barbie the way she’s meant to be understood. “The idea of the multiplicity of the Barbies and then the Kens really did come out of my first meeting with Mattel, when I started talking about different characters and they said, ‘No, we don’t have different characters. All of these women are Barbie,’” shares Gerwig. “And I replied that if all of these women are Barbie then Barbie is all of these women, and they said, ‘Yes.’”
Robbie Brenner, who runs the movie division of Mattel, and is one of the producers of “Barbie,” lauds Gerwig’s vision for the film. “It’s amazing how Barbie has evolved as something really wonderful to play with and also to dream with,” she says. “That said, there are people who aren’t fans of Barbie, and Greta and Noah [Baumbach] did what they do so brilliantly, which is to explore all sides of Barbie and of the conversation around Barbie. By laughing with and embracing all things about Barbie at the same time makes the movie complex, interesting and simply brilliant.”
Margot Robbie, who plays the titular doll in the film, gives high praise to Gerwig too: “Greta has this superpower in the vibe she creates on set, which is so in line with what we wanted Barbie Land to be: bright, happy and supportive. Greta is the happiest, loveliest, most supportive director and she’s also insanely talented. She’s literally got Barbie energy.”
The highly anticipated movie about the iconic doll has been rated PG without cuts by the Movie & Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), which means children below 13 years old and below will be allowed admission if they are accompanied by an adult.
“Barbie” has also been granted permits for exhibition without cuts in other Asian countries such as Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.
“Barbie,” directed by Gerwig and starring Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, opens in Philippine cinemas July 19. Reserve your tickets now at https://www.barbiemovie.com.ph/.