Barbie is the biggest movie of the year, having made over $1 billion dollars at the global box office. As it stands now, the movie seems like the most obvious of success stories, but even one of the movie’s writers admits that he thought the whole thing was a terrible idea, at least at first.
When it was first revealed that Greta Gerwig would direct the Barbie movie fans collectively either got very curious or very confused, as the writer/director of Ladybird and Little Women seemed like an unusual choice for a major studio IP. But Gerwig and her partner Noah Baumbach were set to write Barbie even before Gerwig agreed to direct it. And if you thought that whole thing was strange, it turns out Noah Baumbach felt much the same way, as he recently told Variety he thought there was no way the movie could be good. He explained…
I thought it was a terrible idea and Greta signed me up for it. I was just like, 'I don't see how this is going to be good at all.' I kind of blocked it for a while and every time she'd bring it up, I'd be like, 'You've gotta get us out of this.' And then the pandemic happened.
Baumbach apparently felt there was “no way in” to the story and no character to speak of, but during the global pandemic, when it seemed there was nothing else to work on, Gerwig walked Baumbach through her idea through some illustrations she had created. It was upon seeing this that he understood what she had in mind. At that point, he was on board. Baumbach continued…
It was Barbie waking up in her Dreamhouse and coming out to her backyard and meeting somebody who was sick and dying. I read these pages and I thought, ‘I understand now what this is.’ … The movie is about embracing your mortality and about the mess of it all, so it was exciting.
This scene isn’t one that appears in the Barbie movie, though the scene with Barbie and an old woman on a bench may have been inspired by it. One sees how it encapsulates the entire movie in a single concept. It takes the popular doll and doesn’t simply make a movie out of the character, but out of the idea of the character and Barbie’s history as a piece of pop culture. It’s something audiences have truly attached themselves to, making Babie an absolutely massive hit.
While it seems there are no plans for a direct sequel, a Barbie follow-up is very much in the cards following this sort of success. Barbie making as big a splash during the upcoming awards season as it did at the box office is also a very real possibility.