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

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

Margot Robbie in Barbie. Photo: Warner Bros Pictures
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Fans of doll, Barbie, who celebrated her 63rd birthday this year, have been given an a glimpse of the much-anticipated big-screen debut of their favourite toy.

On Friday, Warner Bros released a trailer for the film, which stars Suicide Squad actress Margot Robbie as the popular but divisive doll.

“Since the beginning of time, since the first little girl ever existed, there have been dolls. But the dolls were always and forever baby dolls. Until …," says a narrator as girls are shown playing with dolls in a scene reminiscent of the opening of Stanley Kubrick's seminal 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

A giant Barbie then appears, wearing the striped swimsuit first seen when Mattel launched the toy in 1959, as the girls begin to destroy their outdated dolls.

The scene then cuts to Barbie's all-pink and colourful universe as glimpses of some of the film's other stars are shown, including Ryan Gosling, Issa Rae and Simu Liu.

When is 'Barbie' coming out?

The Barbie film is set to be released on July 21, 2023. Shooting began in London this year and wrapped in July.

Who is playing Barbie in the movie?

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling rollerblading on the set of Barbie in Los Angeles, California. Photo: MEGA / GC Images

The titular character is being played by Australian actress 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. AFP

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

Will Ferrell, Emerald Fennell, Ncuti Gatwa and Michael Cera are also set to star. While most of their characters are currently being kept under wraps, but Ferrell is set to play a Mattel chief executive.

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. 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: December 17, 2022, 10:17 AM