It’s the kind of news that makes you go, “Hmm, well isn’t that interesting?” Margot Robbie’s live-action debut as Barbie has added a dynamic filmmaker behind the camera, as Academy Award nominee Greta Gerwig has signed on to direct the live-action movie she’s also co-writing with Noah Baumbach.
According to Variety, Gerwig has officially agreed to direct the Barbie movie, which is the first live-action film for the decades-long Mattel toy franchise. She first signed on as co-screenwriter for the movie, which will star Robbie as the famous doll, back in 2019. However, rumours have circulated for a while that she would be stepping behind the lens as well. Interestingly enough, the door was blown wide open a few weeks ago, when Robbie spilled the beans to British Vogue. During that interview, she recognised that Barbie (as a movie and toy line) carries “a lot of baggage,” given its history in gendered marketing and pushing outdated, stereotypical values on young girls. But she hopes that seeing someone like Gerwig onboard might change a few minds.
“But with that come a lot of exciting ways to attack it,” she said. “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.’”
Robbie speaks from professional experience, as much of her recent career has been focused on reexamining the character of Harley Quinn, which she debuted in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad back in 2016. That first rendition was fun and charming — largely due to Robbie’s charisma and dedication to the character (the movie itself was such a chore). But wasn’t until Birds of Prey, which Robbie also produced, that we saw what this iteration of the DC character was truly capable of. Harley’s evolution will continue in James Gunn’s upcoming The Suicide Squad, which sees the return of several characters from the previous film and the debut of several new ones.
Gerwig and Robbie’s Barbie movie is set to start filming next year. No expected release date has been announced.