Margot Robbie's 'Barbie': what you need to know about the 2023 film as first pictures out

Barbie has found her Ken and an A-list cast for the movie based on the world-famous children’s toy

Margot Robbie will star as the eponymous doll in the coming 'Barbie' film. Getty Images
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Fans of the doll, Barbie, who celebrated her 56th birthday this year, finally have a date to see their 11.5 inch-tall favourite on the big screen.

As part of the CinemaCon event being held in Las Vegas this week, more details about the Barbie movie, starring Australian actress Margot Robbie in the titular role, have been unveiled. Here's what we know so far.

When is 'Barbie' coming out?

Warner Bros revealed that its Barbie film is set to come out on July 21, 2023. Shooting began in London this year.

Who is playing Barbie in the movie?

Margie Robbie in a preview scene from the coming 2023 motion picture 'Barbie'. Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

The titular character is being played by Australian actress Margot Robbie, 31. The star has appeared in The Wolf of Wall Street, Bombshell and Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood. She also portrayed Harley Quinn in the Suicide Squad movies and its subsequent spin-offs.

Robbie was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar at the 2017 Academy Awards for her role as ice skater Tonya Harding in I, Tonya.

Who else is in the film?

From left: Ryan Gosling will play Barbie's boyfriend, Ken, while Issa Rae and Simu Liu's characters are currently being kept under wraps. Photos: AFP

The film boasts an A-list cast, which includes Ryan Gosling as Barbie’s boyfriend, Ken, along with SNL star, Kate McKinnon, Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings actor Simu Liu.

Will Ferrell, Issa Rae, Emerald Fennell and Michael Cera are also set to star. All their characters are currently being kept under wraps.

Who is directing the 'Barbie' movie?

Oscar-nominated Greta Gerwig co-wrote the film and is also directing. Photo: A24

Robbie has admitted she is aware of audience preconceptions about the film based on one of the world’s most famous blonds.

“It comes with a lot of baggage … and a lot of nostalgic connections,” she said in an interview with British Vogue last year. "But with that comes a lot of exciting ways to attack it.”

In a bid to bust those biases, producers brought Oscar-nominated writer and director, Greta Gerwig, on board.

Gerwig, who wrote and directed the 2017 indie favourite Lady Bird, teamed up with her partner and fellow Oscar-nominee Noah Baumbach to write the movie. Baumbach wrote 2005’s The Squid and the Whale, as well as the acclaimed Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver film, 2019’s Marriage Story.

“People generally hear ‘Barbie’ and think, ‘I know what that movie is going to be,’” Robbie told British Vogue. “And then they hear that Greta Gerwig is writing and directing it, and they’re like, ‘Oh, well, maybe I don’t.'”

Why has the 'Barbie' film taken so long?

Anne Hathaway and Amy Schumer were both attached to the project before Margot Robbie. Photos: AFP

Rumours about a Barbie movie first began in 2014. Over the years, many famous actresses, directors and writers have been attached to the project.

Sex and the City writer, Jenny Bicks was linked to the film in 2014, but was later replaced by the Oscar-winning writer of Juno, Diablo Cody. With Cody on board, comic actress Amy Schumer signed on to star as the real-life doll, but dropped out in 2017 citing scheduling conflicts.

“The film has so much promise, and Sony and Mattel have been great partners,” Schumer told Variety. “I’m bummed, but look forward to seeing Barbie on the big screen.”

After Schumer left, Anne Hathaway was signed on to step into the rubber heels, after which Cody left the project. It was left to gather dust until Robbie came on board.

What other toy-based movies are in the works?

Barbie is merely one of a handful of movie projects being lined up that are based on toys created by Mattel, which made the doll.

Other toys in line to get the big screen treatment include, the Magic 8 Ball, Polly Pocket, Hot Wheels, the Masters of the Universe, dolls Chatty Cathy and Betsy Wetsy, and the robot toy Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em.

Updated: April 29, 2022, 10:19 AM