Guaranteed to promote tooth decay: Warner Bros. has released the first-ever teaser trailer for the upcoming “Barbie” film adaptation with an all-star cast.
How do you actually imagine a “Barbie” film? Sure, there are already Barbie movies, lots of them. Over 40 works have been created since 2001. And they are obviously popular with young audiences. Most recently, an interactive short film was even released on Netflix with “Barbie – A Legendary Road Trip”.
But the question is, how do you imagine a live-action film adaptation? In complete contrast to animated films, in which the main character’s resemblance is guaranteed solely in appearance – in the past even more so than today – a live-action adaptation does not only have to make the original material from Mattel recognizable in a colorful outfit. Otherwise you wouldn’t need to use the brand name; it would be enough to run “Clueless – Was Else!” again.
What director Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” film will be about is not really clear even after the teaser trailer that has just been released. On the other hand, it suggests that neither the film nor the main actors take themselves particularly seriously:
Richard Strauss’ “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” alone and the obvious homage to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” make it immediately clear that “Barbie” will most likely display a wonderful self-mockery. There is no other way to explain the glistening plastic world in which Barbie and her friends live and laugh.
The real sensation is not even the star cast with Margot Robbie as Barbie, Ryan Gosling as Ken as well as Simu Liu, Will Ferrell, Michael Cera, Emma Mackey and Kate McKinnon, but two names behind the camera: Greta Gerwig as director and screenwriter as well as Noah Baumbach as co-author. Both are better known for their sophisticated cinema. Gerwig, who is also an actress, has directed two celebrated films, “Lady Bird” and “Little Women”. On the set of “Greenberg” she met her husband, filmmaker Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story”).
And if she already has such a talented man at her side, why not involve him directly in the “Barbie” film, Gerwig must have thought to himself. On the At Your Service podcast with Dua Lipa, she revealed that when Margot Robbie asked her to write the script, she simply dragged her husband into the project:
“She came up to me and said, ‘Would you be interested in writing it?’ And I said, ‘Yes!’ And then I added, ‘And Noah [Baumbach] wants to write it too.’ And I really wasn’t talked to Noah about it.”
Yes, with the vita of Gerwig and Baumbach you would expect anything but a “Barbie” film. But that’s what makes this film so appealing. Since the teaser trailer hasn’t revealed anything about the plot at all, one can currently only speculate. But one thing is certain: there will definitely be one or two meta surprises. And: During the writing process, Gerwig quickly realized that she had something great in the works. The urge to direct himself grew steadily. At the beginning, however, she had a completely different, queasy feeling:
“It was terrifying. There’s something appealing about starting from a point where you’re like, ‘Well, anything is possible.’ Everything was spinning when I started writing. Where do you even start? How would the story go? The feeling I had was knowing it was going to be a really interesting scare. Usually those are the best things. I’m afraid of that. Anything that makes you think, ‘This could be the end of a career.’ And then you’re like, ‘Okay, I probably should do it.’”
Gerwig did it. And the result can be viewed in local cinemas from July 20, 2023.