Margot Robbie’s “Barbie” movie casts Issa Rae, Hari Nef, Emma Mackey, Dua Lipa, Alexandra Shipp, Kate McKinnon and more as different iterations of the iconic Mattel doll, but the first actor Robbie envisioned as a Barbie in the film was none other than Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot. She wasn’t available, but Robbie explained to Vogue that Gadot’s “Barbie energy” became a template for casting all of the film’s Barbie roles.
What exactly is Barbie energy? “Gal Gadot is Barbie energy,” Robbie said. “Because Gal Gadot is so impossibly beautiful, but you don’t hate her for being that beautiful because she’s so genuinely sincere, and she’s so enthusiastically kind, that it’s almost dorky. It’s like right before being a dork.”
In playing the main Barbie character herself, Robbie also had to sort through questions regarding beauty and sexiness. After all, Barbie is a children’s doll.
“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. If she doesn’t have reproductive organs, would she even feel sexual desire?’ No, I don’t think she could,” Robbie said. “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.”
Robbie produced “Barbie” through her production company LuckyChap. Her pitch to Mattel to get the rights to the character included a frank discussion on how the film would have to include not just people loving the doll but also hating it as well.
“We of course would want to honor the 60-year legacy that this brand has,” Robbie said in her pitch. “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.”
“Barbie” is directed by Greta Gerwig and co-stars Ryan Gosling as Ken. Gerwig wrote the script for the movie with Noah Baumbach. Warner Bros is opening “Barbie” in theaters nationwide on July 21.