The chaotic Barbie movie will usher in the end times

New footage shows Barbie punch a creepy man while Ken screams. Here's everything we know so far about the Greta Gerwig-helmed movie.

by i-D Staff
30 June 2022, 12:00pm

Twitter @badpostmargots @viralmaterials

Greta Gerwig’s upcoming, potentially-cursed Barbie movie is fast becoming our most anticipated project of the year. Every sliver of new information or imagery we get — be it permatanned Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie’s kitsch outfits (more on that below) or the apparent rumour that Dua Lipa has joined the cast — has us wondering: what in the great fuck are we about to witness? What is the tone of this project? And even though it’s not finished, can we watch it, like, right now?

The film — which already boasts an all-star cast — has been the source of confusion and fascination for all of us for some time now. Like, how the fuck did Universal manage to convince the Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind Little Women to direct and write a movie about a plastic doll and her smooth-crotched boyfriend? Has a director ever made a tonal 180 quite like Greta?

From watching the entire movie through clips and images taken by set onlookers — seriously is there no security on set for this film? — Barbie looks like it will be… chaotic. The most recent clip shows Barbie and Ken in matching neon roller disco garms, believed to be a nod to the Hot Skatin’ Barbie doll from 1994. But apparently not everyone in this universe dresses like a budget Trixie Mattel — a clip shows a creepy frat guy slap Barbie’s butt before she turns around and punches him in the face while Ken screams.

It seems as though Barbie and Ken will be in a perpetual state of pep and high energy throughout most of the movie, but perhaps less Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and more The Smurfs. Another clip from the set shows Barbie ask another rollerblading friend if they’re “ready for fun?” before yelling “YAY!” Why does it feel like Taylor Swift’s “ME!” music video was on the mood board for this movie? Honestly, we’re not sure we could ever be ready for this bubblegum-hued chaos.

Sneaky paparazzi have also caught Margot Robbie leaving her trailer on the London set, dressed like a Harry Styles stan on the train to Love on Tour; a mix of yee-haw Dolly Parton and Kacey Musgraves’ camp Moschino Barbie look at the Met Gala.

And while we’re here, we need to talk about the officially released photo of Ryan Gosling playing Ken too, looking like a 90s heartthrob whose been through four rounds of social media cancellation and is now segueing between straight-to-streamer horror films and queerbaiting on a poorly-subscribed-to OnlyFans.

You know what, good for her! The image of Margot Robbie leaning over the door of a sports car with the top down was the kind of sugary, effervescent thing we expected for a 2023 Barbie movie, and it’s fun to know Greta is leaning into the himbo stereotypes too for her male counterpart. Bleached blonde rather than dark and brooding, as Ken famously has been, he’s dressed in a sleeveless, acid wash denim jacket and matching jeans, the white band of his ‘Ken’-branded boxers making his abs look perma-tan plastic. He looks like the kind of guy everyone fancied in uni and loathed themselves as a consequence. He looks like an unequivocally terrible shag. It’s good to know Ryan Gosling — a man who has, as of late, become a Serious Actor™ — has agreed to make himself look this hot and ridiculous for a role.

Since Ryan was also added to the cast in October last year, we’ve been buffeted by an only-increasing number of star-studded cast additions. But whispers at Cannes Film Festival tell of multiple actors in multiple Barbie and Ken roles. And what’s this about Dua Lipa signing on for the ride too? Here’s everything else we know about the movie so far.

Who will star in Barbie?

Along with Will Ferrell, Kate McKinnon, Alexandra Shipp, and America Ferrera, Sex Education’s Emma Mackey and Michael Cera, Saoirse Ronan and literal popstar Dua Lipa have been added to the cast. There are also rumours that Issa Rae and Hari Nef (also confirmed to star) will be playing different versions of Barbie alongside Margot Robbie, and that Ncuti Gatwa and Simu Liu will have similar duplicate roles alongside Ryan Gosling’s Ken.

Greta — who co-wrote the script with partner Noah Baumbach — had signed Margot onto the project early. According to Deadline, Ryan was the only choice for Ken and had initially turned down the role, until the pre-production dragged on longer than expected and he was suddenly able to sign on. It’s great news for fans of hot and also very good actors taking on parts they are actually kind of perfect for, when you think about it.

Who’s working on Barbie behind the camera?

Barbie was first announced nearly two years ago, where it drove a lot of buzz as the project Greta would be focusing on after the release of the critically lauded Little Women.

She was first attached as a co-writer on the film alongside her partner, the director Noah Baumbach, but now it’s been announced that Barbie will also function as her third directorial feature.

Margot Robbie is aware the title character comes with her own “baggage”

In an interview with British Vogue, Robbie confirmed that the project - which is also being produced by her company, LuckyChap - is taking on a controversial figure in certain regards.

“[Barbie] comes with a lot of baggage!” She told the publication. “And a lot of nostalgic connections. But with that come 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…’”

The iconic doll serves as kind of a bastion for outdated and unrealistic beauty standards. Therefore we can at least assume that the actress’ comments (and, to a larger extent, Greta’s involvement) mean that Barbie will be getting something of a post-modern rehabilitation in the new film.

When is Barbie set to be released?

Barbie will hit theatres globally on 21 July 2023.

Follow i-D on Instagram and TikTok for more film news.

Greta Gerwig
noah baumbach
Margot Robbie