Greta Gerwig found a muse in Barbie before signing on to write and direct the Warner Bros. film, produced by star Margot Robbie.
Oscar-nominee Gerwig wrote a poem inspired by Apostle’s ‘Creed’ plus a deal with partner Noah Baumbach to get the project, Robbie revealed in a Vogue cover story.
“Greta wrote an abstract poem about Barbie,” Robbie said. “And when I say ‘abstract,’ I mean she was super abstract.”
“Little Women” director Gerwig added only that the poem “shares some similarities to the Apostles’ Creed” and no one at Mattel, Robbie’s production company LuckyChap or Warner Bros. has read any part of the poem. script until it was completed.
Robbie noted that it was important for Gerwig and co-writer Baumbach to have complete creative freedom when crafting the “brilliant” script for “Barbie,” however, “At the same time, we have two very nervous companies, Warner Bros and Mattel, saying, ‘What’s their plan? What are they going to do? What is he going to talk about? What is he going to say?’ They have a billion questions.
Robbie ensured that LuckyChap structured the deal so that Gerwig and Baumbach could have an “open” creative process, “which is really fucking hard to do.” The “I, Tonya” actress added that Gerwig had been “on that long list” of directors she had thought about working with in her career.
Writer-director Gerwig called the scriptwriting process with Baumbach “a literally imaginative game”. The film was inspired by older Technicolor musicals, with the cast screening films such as ‘The Red Shoes’ and ‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg’ as part of ‘movie church’ during production.
“They have such a high level of what we’ve come to call authentic artificiality,” Gerwig said of what led to the film’s “Techni-Barbie” aesthetic. “You have a painted sky in a stage. Which is an illusion, but it’s also really there. The painted background is really there. The tangibility of artifice is something we kept coming back to.
Robbie added that he had read the script: “We just looked at each other, pure panic on our faces. We were like, ‘Holy shit.’ I think the first thing I said to Tom was, ‘This is so brilliant. It’s a real shame that we will never be able to make this film.’”
For all the details on “Barbie,” in theaters July 21, click here.