Margot Robbie is a Barbie girl in a Barbie World
Warner Brothers teased the upcoming film at CinemaCon — and it's peak millennial nostalgia.
Warner Brothers is tapping into peak millennial nostalgia with a slate of films based on the popular toys of the ‘90s — and first up is perhaps the most iconic of them all. Production has begun in London for a new Barbie movie, and a cheeky teaser image of Margot Robbie in the titular role has fans excited to see what she’ll bring. The image of her in a striped halter top and polka dot headband in the doll’s classic pink convertible, revealed during Warner Brothers’ presentation at Las Vegas’ CinemaCon, perfectly taps into the nostalgia that fans will be hoping for. Other projects based on the magic 8 ball, Hot Wheels, Masters of the Universe, Polly Pocket, and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots toys are set to follow.
Barbie has an all-star cast featuring Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Kate McKinnon, Alexandra Shipp, America Ferrera, Simu Liu, Hari Nef, and Will Ferrell. The live-action adaptation was co-written by Greta Gerwig and her partner Noah Baumbach, and is being directed by Gerwig as well. Of their approach to the story, Robbie remarked that playing the infamous doll “comes with a lot of baggage … and a lot of nostalgic connections. But with that comes a lot of exciting ways to attack it. People generally hear ‘Barbie’ and think, ‘I know what that movie is going to be,’ and then they hear that Greta Gerwig is writing and directing it, and they’re like, ‘Oh, well, maybe I don’t.’”
Barbie as an institution has a storied history. The doll over the years has been heralded as one of the most successful toys of all time with its maker, Mattel, finding that two Barbies are sold every second. Barbie was originally created in 1959 by Ruth Handler, a founder of Mattel, after she watched her daughter, Barbara, playing with paper dolls for hours. Handler wanted to fashion an inspiring doll that would allow young girls to imagine themselves as anything. Barbie has been released in numerous iterations with careers such as an astronaut, a surgeon, and an olympian. As a brand though, Barbie has also been criticized for promoting unhealthy body images and for the brand’s lack of diversity — challenges that the company has tried to tackle by releasing a more inclusive slate of dolls over the years. While Robbie certainly fits the mold of the original blonde-haired, blue-eyed Barbie, we think that with Gerwig (known for directing the Oscar-nominated Little Women and Lady Bird) behind the wheel, the film of Barbie will tell an unexpected story and create a whole new legacy for the fabled doll.