Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling talk Barbie and Ken as they hit the pink carpet for London premiere | Ents & Arts News

Jul 12, 2023 | Uncategorized

From the moment we saw the photos of Barbie and Ken rollerblading around Venice Beach in matching neon in 2022, the hype has been huge – reaching stratospheric levels in recent weeks thanks to Margot Robbie’s vintage pink carpet outfits, and social media’s obsession with a clip of her perfectly arched, tip-toed feet.

Launched in 1959, the world’s most famous doll has been a constant in the lives of millions of children and is already the star of plenty of films and TV shows, but Greta Gerwig’s new live-action movie has taken Barbie excitement to the next level.

Speaking at the European premiere in London, Robbie, who plays the beloved title character, told Sky News why Barbie’s on-screen world is so special. “To really do something unexpected and fun and clever and silly on such a big scale, it feels like a very unique opportunity,” she said.

“Barbieland feels like a female utopia. But you do, by the end of the film, see the flaw in that – I mean, a hierarchy in anyone’s power is not necessarily the best thing. But it is fun, it’s very pretty.”

Margot Robbie at the London premiere of Barbie. Pic: Scott Garfitt/Invision/AP
Of course Barbie has a dress-fixer. Pic: Scott Garfitt/Invision/AP

Barbie star Margot Robbie and writer-director Greta Gerwig at the London premiere. Pic: Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP
Robbie with writer-director Greta Gerwig on the pink carpet. Pic: Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

Barbie is something of a feminist icon, living in a world where women rule – see the film’s tagline: “She’s Everything. He’s Just Ken.”

Ryan Gosling, who plays Barbie’s arm candy, said he was inspired by his own children to do the film.

“All things Barbie landed in my house at the same time – Barbie the doll and also the film,” he told Sky News. “It was just sort of like a Barbie avalanche, I had to reckon with it.

“I just one day picked up a Ken doll in the backyard – and the next moment, I was him.”

‘I can’t believe they let us make this movie’

It’s hard to remember another film in recent times reaching the level of anticipation this new Barbie film has – it maybe even out-hypes Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond, which was long-awaited after several delays.

There have been stories about the film creating a global shortage of pink paint, the aforementioned headlines on Robbie’s feet, and a pitting of Barbie against what’s seen to be it’s equal and opposite: Oppenheimer, a historic drama about the invention of the atomic bomb, which comes out on the same day.

Margot Robbie as Barbie. Pic: Warner Bros
Pic: Warner Bros

Ryan Gosling as Ken and Margot Robbie as Barbie in Greta Gerwig's new Barbie film. Pic: Warner Bros
Pic: Warner Bros

For writer-director Gerwig, whose previous work includes the 2019 adaptation of Little Women and the Oscar-nominated Lady Bird, it has been somewhat “daunting, as well as exciting”.

She told Sky News. “It’s so exciting but I also feel this ever-present wave of like, “oh no, I’m going to cry’, and then I’m like, ‘don’t cry, it’s only amazing” But it is – it’s a lot, it’s incredible, but it’s a lot of energy.”

Read more:
Margot Robbie on ‘madness’ of Babylon

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Ryan Gosling on Bond, Bollywood, and babies on set

It really is hard to quantify the popularity of Barbie. Her enduring nature is something most other toys can only marvel at; 64 years after she first arrived, she continues to pull in huge sales for makers Mattel.

Gerwig says the toymaker was great to work with. “I honestly can’t believe they let us make this movie, but they were really brave and they really allowed us to have creative freedom with their beloved brands.”

‘Bad Barbie’

Artist Emma Gibbons at the launch of her 'Barbiecore' exhibition. Pic: Dave Parry
Artist Emma Gibbons at the launch of her ‘Barbiecore’ exhibition. Pic: Dave Parry

Like all great brands, the doll has diversified over the years. As well as the physical toys, video games, TV shows and films, she has also inspired others – including British artist Emma Gibbons, who is currently exhibiting her “Barbiecore” pieces in London.

“I’ve been using pieces such as Barbie shoes and tiaras and other bits in my work for a long time,” she told Sky News. “The aesthetic, the neon and sparkle, very much fits with what I do, and she’s been part of my practice since my art school days.

“Barbie had loads of really cool jobs when I was a kid – pilot, firefighter, doctor; she was the ultimate feminist back then, which I really liked. She was a housewife as well but very quickly took on these different careers, giving kids more scope to invent their own games.”

Margot Robbie bought artist Emma Gibbons' 'Bad Barbie' artwork. Pic: Emma Gibbons
Robbie bought Gibbons’ ‘Bad Barbie’ artwork

One of Gibbons’ pieces, “Bad Barbie” – a vintage profile with a swooshy ponytail, created from the artist’s trademark glittery pink pill capsules and crystals – was snapped up by Robbie while she was filming, after the star’s trainer came across it at an art fair.

Gibbons puts the excitement for Barbie down to the aesthetic – and also the nostalgia that she evokes.

“Since COVID especially, people really do want to be uplifted,” she said. “It’s the nostalgia, too – nostalgia’s a very powerful tool.

“There’s also real empowerment and liberation – the amount of people who came up to me at the exhibition opening who said they’d been dying to wear the outfit they had on for ages, but hadn’t dared before. Barbie allows people to be their extravagant, exuberant selves. Anything goes.”

There’s no doubt Barbie is an icon, and this new film will only serve to cement that status to a new generation of fans.

Only time will tell how she will continue to adapt – but it seems a safe bet to say she will be here long after the buzz around this movie has died down.

Barbie is out in cinemas in the UK on 21 July

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