Margot Robbie Explains Her Character in Barbie: Along with several other members of the Barbie creative team and cast, the movie’s star and producer Margot Robbie chatted with Vogue about getting ready to portray the well-known Mattel doll. Robbie discusses how she went about becoming the role of Barbie while taking viewers behind the scenes of the creation of the movie.
To help her get into character for the upcoming Barbie movie, the star went on to explain how she applied an episode of “This American Life” to explore how society has historically sexualized a doll that “doesn’t have reproductive organs.”
How did Robbie get into the character for her role in Barbie?
In order to figure out how to enter the character’s head, the Birds of Prey and I, Tonya star, would also rely on director and co-writer Greta Gerwig. While talking with Vogue, Robbie said, “I was like, ‘Greta, I need to go on this whole character journey.’ And Greta was like, ‘Oh, I have a really good podcast for you,’”
That podcast featured a segment from This American Life that followed a woman who claimed she doesn’t “hardly ever introspect” at all. “You know how you have a voice in your head all the time?” Robbie explains to the magazine. “This woman, she doesn’t have that voice in her head.”
She was able to enter Barbie’s head, thanks to that, but entering her body required a different discussion. The cultural sexualization of the doll, according to Robbie, needed to be thoroughly explored.
“I’m like, OK, 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.”
Director Gerwig reveals she wrote a super “abstract poem about Barbie” in films treatment
Other intriguing details about the film’s process were disclosed in the Vogue article, such as the fact that Oscar-nominated writer-director Greta Gerwig created a highly “abstract poem about Barbie” as part of the treatment, noting that it “shares some similarities with the Apostles’ Creed.” At another point, Gerwig describes how the creation of Barbie and Ken by Mattel in the sequence that they were, with Ken “invented after Barbie,” has led to a sort of origin narrative that “is the opposite of the creation myth in Genesis.”
The cast engaged in numerous exchanges to encourage one another while filming. Ryan Gosling sent a special singing telegram before they started in London since he couldn’t attend a slumber party Gerwig hosted for the Barbies in the movie to which Kens were invited but couldn’t stay over. It arrived, in the words of Vogue, “in the form of an older Scottish man in a kilt who played the bagpipes and delivered the speech from Braveheart.”
Even Robbie had her own gifts for Gosling. “She left a pink present with a pink bow, from Barbie to Ken, every day while we were filming,” he says. “They were all beach-related. Like puka shells or a sign that says ‘Pray for surf.’ Because Ken’s job is just beach, I’ve never quite figured out what that means. But I felt like she was trying to help Ken understand through these gifts that she was giving.”