The discussion about Barbie’s impact on young girls’ body image has been studied and debated for years. Whether the upcoming Barbie movie addresses that remains to be seen. Ahead of the July 21 release date, Margot Robbie who portrays the titular toy weighed in on the character’s overall sexiness when talking to Vogue’s Abby Aguirre about bringing the plastic toy to life. “I’m like, ‘Okay, she’s a doll. She’s a plastic doll.’ She doesn’t have organs. If she doesn’t have organs, she doesn’t have reproductive organs,” says Margot, 32. “I she doesn’t have reproductive organs, would she even feel sexual desire?”
“No, I don’t think she could,” continued Robbie. “She is sexualized. But she should never be sexy. People can project sex onto her. Yes, she can wear a short skirt, but because it’s fun and pink. Not because she wanted you to see her butt.”
Margot also revealed how director Greta Gerwig helped Margot get into Barbie’s head by pointing out that there’s nothing in the doll’s. “I was like, ‘Greta, I need to go on this whole character journey.’ And Greta was like, ‘Oh, I have a really good podcast for you.’” Greta gave Margot an episode of This American Life about a woman who doesn’t introspect. “You know how you have a voice in your head all the time?” Robbie says. “This woman, she doesn’t have that voice in her head.”
During the conversation with Vogue, Margot revealed she wasn’t sure she even owned a Barbie doll as a child. “I don’t think I did,” she said. “I know my cousin had a bunch of Barbies, and I’d go to her house.” She mainly spent her childhood playing with trucks and building forts with her cousin. So, the role in the upcoming Barbie film isn’t a bucket-list item for her.
“It wasn’t that I ever wanted to play Barbie or dreamt of being Barbie or anything like that,” said Robbie. “This is going to sound stupid, but I really didn’t even think about playing Barbie until years into developing the project.”
In 2018, Margot met with the CEO of Mattel, Ynon Kriez, about her production company LuckyChap (which she runs with her husband, Tom Ackerley, and her friend, Josey McNamara) about making a Barbie movie. “We, of course, would want to honor the 60-year legacy that this brand has,” Robbie says. “But we have to acknowledge that there are a lot of people who aren’t fans of Barbie. And, in fact, aren’t just indifferent to Barbie. They actively hate Barbie. And have a real issue with Barbie. We need to find a way to acknowledge that.”
Greta joined the project under the agreement that she and her partner, Noah Baumbach, could write the script. Margot and LuckyChap managed a deal to give Gerwig and Baumbach creative freedom. Margot and Tom read the Barbie finished script at the same time. They reached a joke that made them look at each other with “pure panic” on their faces.
“We were like Holy f*cking sh*t,” said Robbie. “I think the first thing I said to Tom was, ‘This is so genius. It is such a shame that we’re never going to be able to make this movie.’” However, despite all odds, the movie got made, and it hits theaters on July 21.
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