Will Barbie Go Indie? Greta Gerwig & Noah Baumbach Might Say Yes

The crown Queen and King of indie cinema, Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, have been set to write the Barbie live-action movie. Margot Robbie is attached to play the titular doll.

Photo Credit: ABC

Barbie’s pre-production has been something of a rollercoaster. From early reports that Amy Schumer would star as a ‘reject’ Barbie, to Diablo Cody (Juno) writing then dropping out, to finally Margot stepping up as lead actor and producer. Now, with Gerwig and Baumbach signed on, the film’s standing seems more ill-defined than ever. Gerwig is known for quirky and subtle dramas centring on young women facing the realities of modern life. Baumbach is known for experimental films about creatives and their relationships. I’d love to see a Gerwig-Baumbach style Barbie movie, but are Mattel Films and Warner Bros ready?

We’ve seen Barbie Swan Lake and Fairytopia. We’ve also seen Lady Bird and The Squid and the Whale. You would be hard pressed to find two more incompatible filmmaking styles. So where will the trade-off be? I hope the studios are willing to let Gerwig and Baumbach write an indie Barbie, although I’m not totally sure what that would look like. One source of worry is that Baumbach co-wrote Madagascar 3 ; while not the worst movie ever made, it is distinctly bereft of Baumbach’s style. Another worry is Diablo Cody’s statement to Screen Crush:

“I failed so hard at that project. I was literally incapable of writing a Barbie script. God knows I tried.”

A potential angle that could allow Gerwig and Baumbach to retain much of their artistic freedom is an Enchanted-esque story, full of self-referential parody to the Barbie brand as well as a reflection on the modern world. This is made more likely by Mattel’s increasing willingness to change the Barbie image for the times, but there are still some pretty big question marks surrounding the upcoming production.

Who’s the target audience? Will Gerwig direct? Will there be a Ken? Going forward, hopefully these questions are answered by the writers and not the studios.

What do you think of Gerwig and Baumbach writing the new Barbie film? Let us know in the comments down below!