'It was a fine line!' Margot Robbie didn't want to play Barbie as 'vapid'

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 22 July 2023
Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie didn't want to play Barbie as vapid

Magot Robbie "definitely didn't want" to play Barbie as vapid and reveals how the summer blockbuster based on the iconic Mattel doll came to the screen/

Magot Robbie "definitely didn't want" to play Barbie as vapid.

The 33-year-old actress stars as the iconic fashion doll in Greta Gerwig's 'Barbie and insisted that she wanted to stay away from the idea of playing a "ditzy" character as she reminded fans that the Mattel toy has had hundreds of her careers since her inception in 1959.

She told The AU Review: "I definitely didn’t want to portray Barbie as being vapid in any way. And the thing about our how our story is constructed is that, you know, Barbie can be anything. Barbie can be president. Barbie can be a Nobel Prize winner. You see all this stuff at the beginning of the movie that sets up how incredibly intelligent Barbie is. But at the same time, she hasn’t been exposed to so many concepts that she’s going to be exposed to in the real world. So it was a fine line between playing naivety without it coming across as unintelligent because I didn’t want her to seem ditzy. That’s just not interesting to play. It’s not interesting to watch either. And there are times in the movie where we lean into stereotypes.

"We literally call my Barbie “Stereotypical Barbie”, so we’re very much leaning into some stereotypes so that we can, in a way of being self aware, play up the comedy, (but) also have a deeper conversation about some sort of issue. But then there are other times where you’re like, Okay, if we play up that particular stereotype, it’s going to be boring for people for the hour and 40 minutes that they’re watching this movie. So yeah, it was an interesting challenge to find how do we portray the fact that she hasn’t been exposed to certain things that she’s going to learn along the way, but it doesn’t mean that she’s not intelligent."

The 'Wolf of Wall Street' star – who appears alongside Ryan Gosling as Ken, whilst other A-listers like Dua Lipa, Nicola Coughlan and Kate McKinnon play other incarnations of Barbie – went on to add that she was "aware" that a potential movie based on the doll was "floating around" and thought it was both "exciting and scary" when the project finally started to get going.

"I was aware that the Barbie IP was floating around. It had kind of gotten up and running and hadn’t come to full fruition. So we’d been keeping tabs on the property, and when there seemed like there was an opening we kind of jumped at the opportunity. We sat down with the Mattel CEO (about) five years ago and kind of pitched what we, as a production company, would want to do with a Barbie movie. And I knew even at that time that I would want to do it with someone like Greta Gerwig. She was the dream writer and director for it. I didn’t know if she was gonna say yes to it, but there were very few people in my mind that I’d want to make a Barbie movie with (with) Greta being the top of the list.

"But the reason we went after the property, I think, is because it seemed like a very big and exciting and scary opportunity. The (Barbie) word itself is globally recognised. And not only that, people have very strong feelings about Barbie in a lot of cases. So it felt like a really exciting place to start a film, you know, start that thing with the audience where they already feel a certain way. But, at the very least, they have associated childhood memories with it. It just seemed like we could do something special with it."

'Barbie' is in cinemas now.


  • 2023
  • US
  • 1h 54min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Greta Gerwig
  • Cast: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Rhea Perlman, Will Ferrell

To live in Barbie Land is to be a perfect being in a perfect place. Unless you have a full-on existential crisis. Or you're a Ken.