‘Barbie’ Just Hit MAX: Check Out These Behind-The-Scenes Stories Before Rewatching 2023’s Biggest Movie

Hi, Barbie! We’re covering some behind-the-scenes stories from the international box office hit, which caused millions to flock to theaters in colorful camaraderies of pink-clad costumes. Barbie charmed audiences with heartwarming themes of self-acceptance and dealing with change. Backed by a stacked cast and a film director of more-than-exceptional talent, it’s no wonder people are still talking about Barbie long after its release date, and will continue to do so.

The blockbuster hits streaming via MAX today, so we’re delighted to share some little-known stories that are truly everything. Who received gifts every day of filming? What did Margot Robbie really think while filming the rollerblading scene? We’ll tell you in just a second. Keep these in mind during your next re-watch. Here’s some of the best behind-the-scenes stories we found about Barbie.

Ryan Gosling Agreed To Be In ‘Barbie’ After He Saw ‘The Sign’

Video: YouTube

Although Ryan Gosling initially loved the script for the movie, he confirmed in an interview that it’s not what made him agree to take on the role of Ken. Rather, it was his daughter’s Ken doll:

Best script I’ve ever read. I walk out in the backyard [after getting the offer] and, do you know where I found Ken?… [A Ken doll was] face down in the mud next to a squished lemon. I texted [the photo] to [director Greta [Gerwig] and said, “I shall be your Ken, for this story must be told”…

Finally, it’s happening. This has been coming my whole life… I felt like I was seeing myself [when I saw the viral first look Ken photo]. I felt seen. I think a lot of Kens will feel seen when they see this. Gotta do it for the Kens. Nobody plays with the Kens.

Margot Robbie Sent Ryan Gosling Gifts For Each Day They Were Filming

Photo: Warner Bros.

Ryan Gosling shared in an interview that Margot Robbie left him presents with pink bows each day of filming: 

She [Robbie] left a pink present with a pink bow, from Barbie to Ken, every day while we were filming… They were all beach-related. Like puka shells, or a sign that says “Pray for surf.” Because Ken’s job is just beach. I’ve never quite figured out what that means. But I felt like she was trying to help Ken understand, through these gifts that she was giving.

The Set Used So Much Pink Paint, It Caused A Shortage

Photo: Warner. Bros

As the world prepared itself to live Barbie’s dream life on the big screen, fashion trends capitalized on the film by offering Barbie-inspired clothes and accessories in bright pink hues. However, production designer Sarah Greenwood warned that the world had already hit an international shortage of pink paint from the massive quantities used for the set, sharing: “The world ran out of pink.”

Director Greta Gerwig defended the shortage by elaborating:

Maintaining the “kid-ness” was paramount. I wanted the pinks to be very bright, and everything to be almost too much. [I didn’t want to] forget what made me love Barbie when I was a little girl…

The Cast Had Slumber Parties And Attended A ‘Movie Church’

Photo: Warner Bros.

When director Greta Gerwig took on the film, she insisted on certain bonding experiences – including cast slumber parties and “movie church.” All of the Barbies were invited to stay the night at a London hotel, and the Kens were allowed to stop by (but not stay). Gosling apparently couldn’t make it but didn’t want his absence to go unnoticed. In his place, he sent a singing telegram in the form of a Scotsman dressed in a kilt playing the bagpipes and reciting lines from Braveheart

Every Sunday, the entire cast gathered at the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill, where they watched movies relevant to the Barbie storyline. The group began to refer to the weekly get-togethers as “movie church.”

The Cast Is Absolutely Stacked

Photo: Warner Bros.

If Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling starring in the film wasn’t enough to get fans storming the box office, Barbie also features numerous well-known actors as different versions of the dynamic duo. 

While Robbie plays Stereotypical Barbie, there’s also Weird Barbie (Kate McKinnon), Writer Barbie (Alexandra Shipp), Physicist Barbie (Emma Mackey), Lawyer Barbie (Sharon Rooney), Judge Barbie (Anna Cruz Kayne), Diplomat Barbie (Nicola Coughlan), Journalist Barbie (Ritu Arya), President Barbie (Issa Rae), Mermaid Barbie (Dua Lipa), and Doctor Barbie (Hari Nef). 

Ken’s only profession is “beach,” but he also has numerous versions of himself living in Barbie Land. In addition to Gosling, other Kens include Simu Liu, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Ncuti Gatwa, Scott Evans, and John Cena as Merman Ken. 

Barbie and Ken’s best friends, Midge and Allan, are played by Emerald Fennell and Michael Cera, with Will Ferrell acting as Mattel’s CEO. Helen Mirren provides the voiceover for the highly anticipated film, and America Ferrera and Ariana Greenblatt play humans who interact with Robbie once she leaves her own world. 

Many Of The Characters Are Based On Real Barbie Dolls

Photo: Warner Bros.

Barbie‘s storyline acts as both a spoof and homage to the classic toy, but many of the characters in the film are based on real Barbie dolls. 

Robbie’s black-and-white swimsuit was worn by the first Barbie doll in 1959; Midge was a friend of Barbie’s released in 1963, with a later controversial pregnant edition; and President Barbie first made her appearance on toy store shelves in 1992. Doctor Barbie earned her hypothetical medical degree when she was released in 1973; Allan was introduced to Barbie Land in 1964; and Mermaid Barbie made her splash in the 2010s. 

Mattel also created numerous dolls to match the characters in the film. 

Margot Robbie Checked Something Off Her Bucket List While Working For The Film

Photo: Extra / YouTube

Margot Robbie has logged quite a list of career accomplishments. Beyond being twice nominated for Academy Awards, her A-list talent has made her a bankable leading actor from roles in the DC Extended Universe to prestige dramas. Oddly enough, though, working on the set of Barbie checked off a box on her bucket list she had long forgotten about. In an interview with Extra, Robbie admitted:

I found the other day in my special box a list of things to do before I die, and on that list – and I’m actually not kidding – “Meet Ryan Gosling” was on that list… It wasn’t even “Work with Ryan Gosling.” I didn’t dream that big. I just wanted to meet Ryan Gosling.

Ryan Gosling Asked To Sing ‘I’m Just Ken’

Photo: Warner Bros.

Grammy Award-winning producer Mark Ronson worked on Barbie at director Greta Gerwig’s request. While working on early demos, he recorded the line, “Is it my destiny to live and die a life of blond fragility?” and sent it along to the director. The honesty and absurdity of the lyrics resonated with Gerwig, and later with Ryan Gosling, who specifically requested to perform the song in the movie. Gerwig ended up altering a scene in the script to accommodate the musical number.

Ronson, who later recorded Gosling in the studio, recalled:

He really got [that] it had to walk this line of not being funny or parody. But obviously, the song is also kind of ridiculous at times. So he was really amazing, and when he really did start hitting the big notes, I was like, this dude is a vocal powerhouse!

Greta Gerwig Refused To Cut This Specific Cameo

Photo: Warner Bros.

Barbie has no shortage of absurd, laugh-out-loud moments, but perhaps the most meaningful to director Greta Gerwig ia an exchange between Barbie and an older woman on a park bench. In the scene, Barbie remarks, “You’re so beautiful,” to which the woman replies, “I know it.” The one-off character is played by a two-time Academy Award-winner, as Gerwig described to Rolling Stone: “I love that scene so much. And the older woman on the bench is the costume designer Ann Roth. She’s a legend.”

Gerwig went on to recall how the touching moment almost didn’t make it in the film:

In early cuts, looking at the movie, it was suggested, “Well, you could cut it. And actually, the story would move on just the same.” And I said, “If I cut the scene, I don’t know what this movie is about…” But to me, the part that I can’t believe that is still in the movie is this little cul-de-sac that doesn’t lead anywhere – except for, it’s the heart of the movie.

Ryan Gosling Channeled His Inner ‘Mickey Mouse Club’

Photo: The All-New Mickey Mouse Club / Disney+

The musical numbers in Barbie add an extra layer of playfulness to the over-the-top production, with Ryan Gosling’s performance of “Push” by Matchbox Twenty serving as a  standout moment. Co-writer and director Greta Gerwig realized the song had a place in the movie when thinking about Barbie’s musical influences: “I was like, well, if Barbies loved Indigo Girls’ ”Closer to Fine,” which is one of my favorite songs of all time, the Kens might really attach to Matchbox Twenty.”

Gosling was sent to Abbey Road Studios in London to record the track, which he was admittedly hesitant about. However, he was able to reach back to his roots as a young cast member on The All-New Mickey Mouse Club to help guide him. In conversation with Entertainment Weekly, Gosling said:

At a certain point I thought I had left that kid behind, and I realized that I needed his help to make this movie. So I had to go back and make peace with him [his younger self] and ask for his help. It was good for me.

Margot Robbie Was ‘Dying On The Inside’ While Filming The Rollerblading Scene

Photo: Warner Bros.

During an interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy FallonMargot Robbie revealed how embarrassed she was to sport a particularly iconic ’90s Barbie look: 

Robbie: I can’t tell you how mortified we were, by the way. We look like we’re like laughing, having fun, but dying on the inside… I was like, “This is the most humiliating moment of my life.” 

Fallon: Did you realize it (the picture) was going to go everywhere? All over the internet? 

Robbie: No! I mean, I knew that we had some exteriors to shoot in LA. I knew, okay, once you’re doing exteriors, you’re gonna get papped. There’s probably going to be a little crowd of people who are going to take notice because, you know, the fluoro. We stand out a little in those outfits. And so I knew there would be a little bit of attention and probably some photos would get out there, but not like it did. It was like, mad. It was like, hundreds of people watching. 

Greta Gerwig Wrote An Abstract Poem To Launch The Project

Photo: Martin Kraft / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Being awarded creative freedom for Barbie was no easy process – Margot Robbie’s company, LuckyChap, had to prove to Mattel and Warner Bros. that they could create the perfect narrative that matched both companies’ ideals while still delivering on entertainment that would draw in crowds at theaters. 

Robbie had always wanted to work with Greta Gerwig on a project, and Gerwig was prepared to impress the toy company and the movie production corporation with her best efforts. Gerwig penned an abstract poem about Barbie to secure complete writing freedom for the film. Though no one involved in the theatrical endeavor will reveal exactly what its words consisted of, Gerwig compared it to the Apostle’s Creed Christian prayer.

Amy Schumer And Anne Hathaway Were Originally Part Of The Project

Photo: Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

The movie has been in the works for over 14 years, and Margot Robbie was not the initial choice to play Barbie. Before Greta Gerwig took over as director and writer, Amy Schumer was offered the part in 2016.

Though the comedian initially told reporters that she dropped out of the then-Sony-produced film because of “scheduling conflicts,” Schumer later admitted that she wasn’t impressed with the storyline. While Schumer wanted Barbie to be an inventor, the studio insisted that she invent high heels made out of Jell-O. After the film team sent her a pair of Manolo Blahniks to celebrate her taking the role, Schumer later remarked: “The idea that that’s just what every woman must want, right there, I should have gone, ‘You’ve got the wrong gal.’”

Sony replaced Schumer with Anne Hathaway, but the movie still fell through. Eventually, Sony and Mattel’s contract expired, landing on the Warner Bros. film lot with Gerwig as director and Margot Robbie as the lead character. 

The Soundtrack Is Stacked

Photo: Atlantic