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Barbie / Press Conference with Cast and Greta Gerwig

Photo by Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures/Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures – © 2022 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Barbie : 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.

Rating: PG-13 (Suggestive References|Brief Language)

Genre: Comedy

Original Language: English

Director: Greta Gerwig

Producer: David Heyman, Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, Robbie Brenner 

Writer: Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach

Release Date (Theaters):   Wide

Release Date (Streaming): 

Box Office (Gross USA): $636.2M

Runtime: 

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production Co: NB/GG Pictures, Heyday Films, LuckyChap Entertainment, Mattel

Barbie, Marggot and Ryan@Photo by Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures/Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures – © 2022 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

Press Conference with Director/Screenwriter Greta Gerwig, Actor/Producer Margot Robbie, Actors America Ferrera and Ryan Gosling

 

Q : Why do you think this film resonated so much with the audience? Since the movie has been out and you have received feedback, how has your own opinion changed?

Greta Gerwig – When Noah Abumbach and I wrote the script it was so fun and funny, we were making each other laugh hysterically. We had the feeling we were creating something wild and anarchic and hilarious and heartbreaking. We were so excited by it. I was amazed that we were allowed to make it in the form that it is.

I think that the feeling we had then translated to everyone on set: it felt like all the actors, all the designers and DP, everyone came with this sort of enthusiasm and this kind of delight in the whole process. And then that first feeling when we got that back from audiences who were watching it,  it was amazing. It was part of why we wanted to make the movie:  we were writing it in the midst of the lockdown where no one was going to movies. The joy we felt wasn’t misplaced, it was shared.

Margot Robbie – For such a big movie, it’s also a really personal film, and we put a lot of us in it right down to the montage at the end. It was a big summer blockbuster film that somehow made people feel like: “Oh no, we’re having an intimate dialogue.  And this movie is for me.” People really responded to that.

America Ferrera – I think one aspect of it is just how unexpected it all was. And I think there was so much anticipation and hype around Barbie. Everyone knew it was happening. Everyone knew it was pink and bright and fun and there was a party. But I don’t think when people sat down in their seats,  they knew that they were going to be invited into a deeply personal character journey. That there would be moments that they were crying or moments that they were thinking about things that they just didn’t really think that a Barbie movie would bring out of them.

Ryan Gosling – Well, I might be reaching too far for this metaphor right now, but it’s like there was a ball effect like a disco ball effect to the film. It’s like there’s a little mirror for everyone. I was so surprised when I first read it in a film about Barbie that they had managed to also consider and carve out a little space for what Ken’s experience might have been. It’s such a generous film in that way, it feels like it’s designed to try to have a little voice for everyone

Q : What was the reason for your decision to produce Barbie? What motivated you to tell this story? Was it a challenging task to put your own stamp on it?

Margot Robbie –  The fun thing about the Barbie as a property is there is no set narrative. There is no story, she’s a doll. It was completely unpaved territory in that regard and I knew that would be exciting to a lot of people. I’ve just been obsessed with Greta for so long and have wanted to work with her so much. Something I recognized in her work was this ability to have a giant beating heart even when things are very funny, very clever. There’s something about Greta’s work that always invites you in, even when it’s extremely intelligent or it’s always very real and personal.

Q : Your monologue has taken on life of its own and has meant so much to so many people. Can you talk about crafting it?

America Ferrera – My monologue is not something that you’re expecting in the midst of Barbie Land, right? That is part of why it resonated, it’s the magic touch of Greta as a director and as a visionary. Gloria is just raw and frustrated, at the end of her rope, so being able to speak such truth in the midst of Barbie land it’s all so unexpected, you really don’t know where each moment is taking you next. It is great these days to sit in a theater and just be surprised with every turn.

Q : In your opinion, what drives men’s obsession with this movie?

Ryan Gosling – I can’t speak for all men. I wouldn’t wanna explain this film or anyone’s experience. I think it’s more just men and women, everyone. I think it’s a party and everyone was invited. That’s more what everyone felt. While we were shooting the film, you could see that effect happening to the crew. It also started with Margot having a pink day every day, once a week on set. It was like a theme. It was just something where everyone got the rules. You could have conversations about it if you wanted, or you could just sort of enjoy it and have fun. Barbie works on so many levels that I’m not surprised that it resonates in a lot of different ways with a lot of different people.

Barbie, Girls@Photo by Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures/Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures – © 2022 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Q : What steps did you take to improve your performance during Barbie’s unique journey in the movie?

Margot Robbie – All my usual tools that I implement when coming up with a character just weren’t applicable with Barbie. Normally I do animal work, I come up with childhood memories and so on, but none of them were applicable for her. I was feeling kind of lost and Greta pointed me in the right direction, we had all these amazing conversations and ended up just recognizing that she existed with complete certainty at the beginning. That could be reflected in the costumes, in her movement or in the cadence she speaks.

At a certain point America’s character says: ”That’s life, it’s all change” and then I say back, “Well, that’s terrifying”. I remember as a kid, finding change really terrifying, and the fact that it just kept on coming. So that line always hit me pretty pointedly and I really wanted to map out that  journey of complete certain existence to a very uncertain way of living which little by little Barbie finds beautiful and worth living.

Q : What tool did you use to aid Margot in locating the character?

Greta Gerwig – It is really complicated, tricky for an actor to be able to create this character that has no inner life whatsoever, and then to be able to construct something that has no separation from her environment, no desires because everything is met. And then watching that crumble. There is no roadmap for it.

There is no roadmap for Ken, Barbie or Gloria, so everyone was bringing ideas to the table because we had to figure it out collectively. Honesty was something just in everybody’s character work.  But I think because we have to, you know, identify with a plastic doll, it was just amazing to watch. The movie wouldn’t work, one inch if Margot hadn’t somehow figured that out, which I still don’t totally understand how you did it. But I’m very glad that it happened.

Q : What was your strategy for balancing humor and serious moments in your Barbie shoot?

Greta Gerwig –  It was something I truly loved in the script when we were done writing it. I knew I needed to be a better director than I’ve been to pull this off. It felt like it was terrifyingly but excitingly beyond what I’d done before. It is such a constructed world,I felt like the filmmaking had to be controlled because it’s so anarchic. You better be in control of everything the whole time.

The first time I felt  I could achieve it was thanks to the creative team that we brought together, other than the actors. Rodrigo Prieto who shot it, Jacqueline Durand who did the costumes and Sarah Greenwood who did the sets. We started talking about the film in December of 2020 and we started shooting in March of 2022 so we truly analyzed the whole project one piece at a time.

Every single thing in every frame had to be figured out because, again, there was just no context for it. It all had to be invented and at the same time consistent with itself. When I look at the movie I remember that every single frame of it represents hours and hours and hours of meetings. I wanted it all to be shot on soundstage like a 50s musical.

Margot Robbie : It could have been really hard for Greta to operate at a scale this large and still be making art.  She showed a skill set that is rare and also very underappreciated. It’s like you’re playing with huge machinery, physically and metaphorically, it’s just huge.

America Ferrera : Greta has also the ability to discover things in the moment, coming to a seat and just playing to see what’s there. The first thing she did was give me a list of movies to watch.

Greta Gerwig : Everyone of us in some way was a movie nerd. We all look at movies because it’s like a language that we always share. We all love. So it was exciting when we looked at a scene from some film shot in 1932. I wanted to celebrate the history of movies in Barbie because in some way it means celebrating our whole life, celebrating going back to theaters.

Ryan Gosling : It was a fully realized place when I arrived. I felt like an astronaut landing on this pink planet.  You are not sure whether you can survive or not. And then you realize there is so much to discover. You can take off your helmet and everything smells like strawberries. And not only can you survive, you can thrive. I think everyone felt that way.

Q : What was the conversation you had with Greta to bring Ken to life, switching between comic and more serious moments?

Ryan Gosling : I felt like there was  just an incredible amount of trust immediately. Greta had been just so generous to have thought about how this experience might have been for Ken. She was also able to build this sense of partnership with all the actors and the crew, it became a common experience to shoot Barbie. We all had such admiration for what Greta, and Margot had built.

We wanted to show that in some way and thank them for what they gave us.  You could see from the men on the crew, the way that they’ve been proudly wearing pink on pink day.  It was a bit like the end of Dead Poets Society, the famous sequence with the “Captain, my captain” moment. I was really honored to be a part of something so special. And I’m grateful to be.

Barbie, ken

@Photo by Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures/Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures – © 2022 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Check out more of Adriano’s articles.

Here’s the trailer of the film. 

Adriano Ercolani
Adriano Ercolani
Adriano Ercolani Profile Italian Film Critic and TV Author living in New York since 2011. Critics Choice Association member. Graduated in History of Cinema in Rome, he works as a freelance correspondent for some of the most important Italian outlets like Hollywood Reporter Italy, Comingsoon.it, Cinefilos.it and Ciak Magazine. He started working as a film critic almost thirty years ago: in his career he attended the most important Film Festivals (Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Toronto, New York Film Festival, Tribeca) and conventions (San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic-Con, Disney D23). All over the years he has interviewed some of the most important contemporary authors like Michael Mann, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Peter Jackson, Alexander Payne, Joel and Ethan Coen, Kathryn Bigelow, Christopher Nolan, Greta Gerwig, Jane Campion). In 2009 he interviewed Christiane Kubrick and Ian Harlan inside Stanley Kubrick’s private office. Other than movies he is fond of American literature and basketball. Los Angeles Lakers fanatic. He lives in New York with his wife and his bossy 3-year -old daughter.

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