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‘Barbie’ Movie with Margot Robbie Release Date, Cast, and News


Margot Robbie has some tiny, plastic shoes to fill, but with director Greta Gerwig paving her dream-house driveway, Barbie seems less likely to stumble in those stilettos. Variety confirmed on July 9, 2021 that Little Women director Gerwig will helm the live-action Barbie film, with Robbie attached as Mattel’s size-zero superstar. Under Gerwig’s stewardship, the blonde icon who’s juggled careers as a president, doctor, teacher, fashion designer, and Olympic athlete will be forced to confront her feminist critics.

Revealed Robbie in a cover story with British Vogue, “Right, it comes with a lot of baggage! And a lot of nostalgic connections. But with that come a lot of exciting ways to attack it.” Here’s what we know about the doll drama so far.

When will the film release?

Barbie hits theaters on July 21, 2023. Warner Bros. announced the news with a first look at Robbie in character, covered in pink.

barbie movie

Margot Robbie as Barbie.

Jaap Buitendijk//Warner Bros.

The Warner Bros. project was first announced in 2019, but numerous other projects—and, not to mention, a pandemic—have kept Gerwig and Robbie busy in the interim. Variety confirms that Gerwig and co-writer Noah Baumbach would finalize the script after completing work on the Baumbach-directed 2022 film White Noise.

Who’s playing Ken?

It was announced on October 22, 2021, that Ryan Gosling was in final negotiations for the role of Ken, the well-known romantic interest of Barbie and a wonderful choice for a leading man to star opposite Robbie. Apparently, Gosling initially rejected the role, saying he was too busy, but the delay in production lined it up with a free spot in his calendar. The news came after Gosling wrapped on the Russo brothers’ Netflix film The Gray Man, acting alongside Chris Evans.

On June 15, 2022, Warner Bros. Pictures released a jaw-dropping first-look image of Gosling in the infamous role—with bleached blonde hair, a denim vest and a spray tan, no less. However, Gosling is not the only one playing Ken.

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Who else is in the cast?

Barbie is a massive star-studded production featuring multiple Barbies, Kens, and humans. After long keeping character details close to the vest, the film shared its full roster on social media.

The doll cast includes: Robbie, Hari Nef (Transparent) as a doctor Barbie, Emma Mackey (Sex Education) as a Barbie with a Nobel Prize in physics, Dua Lipa as a mermaid Barbie, Ana Cruz Kayne (Painkiller) as a Supreme Court Justice Barbie, Sharon Rooney (My Mad Fat Diary) as a lawyer Barbie, Emerald Fennell (The Crown) as Midge, Issa Rae as a president Barbie, Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live) as the Barbie who’s “always in the splits,” Nicola Coughlan (Bridgerton) as a diplomat Barbie, Alexandra Shipp (Tick, Tick…Boom!) as an author Barbie, and Ritu Arya (The Umbrella Academy) as a Barbie with a Pulitzer.

The various Kens are portrayed by: Gosling, Kinglsey Ben-Adir (One Night in Miami), Scott Evans (Grace and Frankie), Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), and Ncuti Gatwa (Sex Education). And there’s Michael Cera as Allan.

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The human cast includes: America Ferrera, Ariana Greenblatt (young Gamora in Avengers: Infinity War), Connor Swindells (Sex Education), Jamie Demetriou (Fleabag, The Afterparty), and Will Ferrell, who’s said to be playing the CEO of a toy company. Let’s also not forget Dame Helen Mirren, who’s taken the honorable role of narrator.

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Other previous reports stated that Marisa Abela (Industry) and Rhea Perlman (Cheers) are also in the cast. Further details about the roles remain tightly under wraps.

What will the story be about?

Gerwig will pen the script with Marriage Story‘s Baumbach, which means this won’t be your typical toy-to-television adaptation.

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

After months—or honestly, years—of keeping mum, Robbie opened up slightly about the film’s premise to Vogue. She said that when her production team pitched the idea to Mattell, they told the company, “We of course would want to honor the 60-year legacy that this brand has. But we have to acknowledge that there are a lot of people who aren’t fans of Barbie. And in fact, aren’t just indifferent to Barbie. They actively hate Barbie. And have a real issue with Barbie. We need to find a way to acknowledge that.”

To help Robbie get into character, Gerwig recommended listening to an episode of the podcast This American Life where a woman doesn’t introspect. “You know how you have a voice in your head all the time?” Robbie told Vogue. “This woman, she doesn’t have that voice in her head.”

Vogue reports that the Barbie storyline is somewhat inspired by the 1994 book Reviving Ophelia, which Gerwig read as a kid, that details problems girls face when they enter adolescence. “They’re funny and brash and confident, and then they just—stop,” the director told the magazine. While writing the screenplay, she realized that the film would ultimately cover: “How is this journey the same thing that a teenage girl feels? All of a sudden, she thinks, Oh, I’m not good enough.”

Robbie trusted Gerwig, but she had a simple request before singing on. “I’ll follow your vision. Whatever you want this Barbie movie to be, let’s do that. Except I just have one favor,” she recalled telling the director on The Kelly Clarkson Show. “Please, please, please can we have a Dreamhouse where she has a slide that goes from her bedroom down to her pool, because that is my goal in life.” We get it.

Is production for Barbie over?

On July 16, 2022, a few members of the Barbie cast shared a celebratory photo to commemorate wrapping on the film. Both actresses Hari Nef and Sharon Rooney posted the picture to Instagram. The image included Gerwig as well as Robbie and America Ferrera from their last day on set, all yelling at the camera.

Also in the pic were Alexandra Shipp and Ana Cruz Kayne, plus a few other members of the studio ensemble.

“Barbie, a true gift,” Rooney wrote in the caption.

Greenblatt told ELLE of filming Barbie, “Everyone had such a great time making it, and it really shows on camera.” She added that while filming in London, Robbie and Gerwig arranged for the cast to screen films relating to Barbie every Sunday at Electric Cinema in Notting Hill.

What has Greta Gerwig said about the experience?

Gerwig co-wrote the screenplay as well as directing. In an appearance on Dua Lipa’s At Your Service podcast post-production, Gerwig said it was actually a nerve-wracking choice to take on the Barbie project.

“It was terrifying. I think there’s something about starting from that place where it’s like, ‘Well, anything is possible!’” she said. “It felt like vertigo starting to write it. Like, where do you even begin? What would be the story?”

She continued, “I think it was that feeling I had that it would be really interesting terror. Usually, that’s where the best stuff is. When you’re like, ‘I am terrified of that.’ Anything where you’re like, ‘This could be a career-ender,’ then you’re like, ‘OK, I probably should do it.’”

The experience ended up being great, even working with the executives at Mattel, who have creative control over the doll fashion line.

“They have given us such trust and such freedom, and I think that is incredibly rare. Whatever we wanted to be, they did not try to micromanage it. I was very much supported in what I wanted to do,” Gerwig explained. “I usually know on a gut level whether something feels right.”

Is there a trailer?

Finally, yes. Warner Bros. shared the first teaser for Barbie on December 16, featuring Robbie’s arrival as the iconic doll. It’s also a big visual and musical reference to the opening scenes of 2001 A Space Odyssey. “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…” a voiceover says in the clip.

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The footage ends with some blink-and-you’ll-miss it glimpses of the over-the-top film, including cast members Ryan Gosling, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Ncuti Gatwa, Issa Rae, and Simu Liu.

barbie live action movie

Warner Bros. YouTube

barbie live action movie

Warner Bros. YouTube

barbie live action movie

Warner Bros. YouTube

barbie live action movie

Warner Bros. YouTube

barbie live action movie

Warner Bros. YouTube

Another teaser followed on April 4, showing a bigger, colorful look inside Barbie Land and its multiple Barbies (including Robbie, Rae, Shipp, and Mackey) and Kens (like Gosling, Liu, and Ben-Adir). Michael Cera’s Allan makes an appearance too. The eye-popping preview ends with Barbie driving towards the “real world” in her bubblegum pink convertible, only to find Gosling’s Ken has stowed away in the back seat, along with his neon roller blades. Watch below.

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barbie

Emma Mackey, Simu Liu, Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, and Kingsley Ben-Adir inBarbie.

Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

The main trailer, released on May 25, shows more of Barbie’s excursion into the real world. All is going well in Barbie Land when she starts noticing that things are going awry: she falls off of her building and (gasp!) the eternal tip-toe-arches of her feet have gone flat, so she can no longer wear heels. Kate McKinnon’s Barbie suggestions she goes into the Real World to find out what’s going on. Once Robbie’s Barbie arrives to her destination (with Gosling’s Ken in tow), shenanigans ensue. Watch below. The trailer teases a new song by Dua Lipa, too.

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What songs are in the Barbie soundtrack?

Barbie the Album is also dropping on July 21, including a bunch of new and original songs from a variety of A-list stars, including Dua Lipa, Nicki Minaj, Charli XCX, Karol G, Fifty Fifty, Haim, Ice Spice, and more. Ryan Gosling is in the track list too. Check out the list of artists below.

barbie the album

Courtesy Atlantic Records

Headshot of Lauren Puckett-Pope

Culture Writer

Lauren Puckett-Pope is a staff culture writer at ELLE, where she primarily covers film, television and books. She was previously an associate editor at ELLE. 

Headshot of Erica Gonzales

Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she’s listening to Lorde right now. 



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