But at the same time, you have to be able to show all the things that people found problematic about Barbie. Greta would say, run to that, that will be more interesting.

What were their biggest concerns?

ROBBIE There was a long laundry list of concerns. Moreover, we had complete freedom. They weren’t allowed to dictate the film, but we didn’t want to make a film they wouldn’t support either.

Some things are small, how she calls herself Stereotypical Barbie. The word “stereotypical” has negative connotations attached to it. They asked if we would consider another word. Sure, I said, “We could call her Generic Barbie or Original Barbie or Blonde Barbie.” But the word “stereotypical” is important because she already sets parameters around herself that she, later in the film, will step out and break free. So that is important for her journey. She has to start there, calling herself Stereotypical Barbie, because she’s already putting herself down without realizing it.

Ryan, can you describe how you felt after you first read the script?

RYAN GOSLING Well, the title page said “Barbie and Ken,” and the “and Ken” was scratched out. It was obviously not what I expected. It’s so elegantly and brilliantly designed by Greta and Margot to be like a theme park or something where you don’t really need a map. It’s already set up for you to hit all the places they want you to hit without you knowing it. I rode it and I’m still riding it. I don’t want to leave the park. They drive me away. “The park is closing, sir.” But I ordered churros and they are coming, I swear.

What do you two say about this mini-hubub over Ken’s age and Ryan too old to play him?


ROBBIE Barbie and Ken are technically in their 60s. So whatever. The first thing I thought when I heard that was, in “Grease” they’re supposed to be high school students, and not once in the 150 times I’ve watched “Grease” over the years have I ever not enjoyed “Grease” . because I was like, “I have to go check what age they were.” They found the most charismatic, talented people to dazzle me. And that’s why I love that movie.

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