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Star-Studded Cast Discusses Breaking Stereotypes in Barbie Film

By Jake Beardslee · July 22, 2023

The upcoming live-action "Barbie" film features an inclusive cast and narrative aimed at breaking stereotypes.  Barbie (film), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Call it a pop-culture world event. The iconic Barbie doll has officially transitioned from the store shelf and onto the big screen in a new live-action comedy film. The highly anticipated “Barbie” movie features Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, bringing the famous Mattel toys into a bright, vibrant cinematic world that aims to challenge stereotypes.

Robbie offered ABC News her personal view of the global cultural impact of Barbie: “I was both scared of and excited by the idea that people were going to come into this movie already feeling very strongly about the protagonist,” she said.

Oscar-nominated director Greta Gerwig told ABC that she saw the film as a way to look at gender roles through a new lens, while Gosling enthused that “an opportunity to work with [Gerwig and Robbie] was too good. If I was reluctant, it was I doubted my energy. But I had to trust that they would guide me.”

The movie incorporates humor and camp along with messages of inclusivity. Actress Issa Rae, who plays President Barbie, discussed the significance of diversity in the Barbie world with ABC News. “Of course, I think the only hesitation was just like, ‘Oh, where do I fit in this in this particular Barbie world? And how like, what will the Barbie world look like?’ Because… no one wants to be kind of tokenized in that world,” Rae said. She added that her role was built on previous diversity efforts by Mattel.

With its star-studded cast and arresting visuals, “Barbie” promises laughs along with a reminder for viewers to embrace who they are. As Michael Cera - who plays a character named Alan - said in the same interview, “You shouldn’t feel you have to fit into a mold, fit into a box or fit into somebody else’s idea of who you should be or how you should fit into the world.”

Light Wave commentary

The upcoming live-action “Barbie” film marks an intriguing development for the 64-year-old plastic doll. While Barbie has iconic status as a global toy brand, she also embodies potentially outdated gender stereotypes. This big-screen adaptation offers a chance to reinvent Barbie for a new era. With its focus on inclusivity and defying conventions, the movie promises to redefine Barbie as an empowering role model for millions. Pretty heady stuff for a simple toy.