Greta Gerwig was ‘terrified’ that ‘Barbie’ would kill her career

Telling the story of life in plastic didn’t immediately sound fantastic to filmmaker Greta Gerwig.

The 39-year-old actress and director admitted to being nervous about taking on the Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling-fronted “Barbie” movie.

“It was terrifying. I think there’s something about starting from that place where it’s like, ‘Well, anything is possible,’” Gerwig told Dua Lipa on the singer’s recent “At Your Service” podcast. “It felt like vertigo starting to write it. Like, where do you even begin? What would be the story?

“Usually, that’s where the best stuff is. When you’re like, ‘I am terrified of that,’” she added. “Anything where you’re like, ‘This could be a career-ender,’ then you’re like, ‘OK, I probably should do it.’”

Gerwig further gushed that bigwigs at Barbie doll manufacturer Mattel have been “amazing partners” on the movie, granting her a level of “trust and … freedom” that she feels is “incredibly” rare.

Greta Gerwig from the film "White Noise" speaks onstage during Contenders Film: Los Angeles at DGA Theater Complex on November 19 in Los Angeles, California.
Greta Gerwig from the film “White Noise” speaks onstage during Contenders Film: Los Angeles at DGA Theater Complex on Nov. 19 in Los Angeles, California.
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“Whatever we wanted [the film] to be, they did not try to micromanage it,” she told Lipa. “They were completely onboard as partners, and that was extraordinary.”

Although details of the plot for the upcoming flick haven’t been released, Gosling previously told Jimmy Fallon that it’s the “best script I’ve ever read.”

“The Notebook” star Gosling also described his character, Ken, as a “loser” with no money, job, house or car, but clarified to the late-night host: “Those are not plot details. These are just objective facts about Ken. That’s the Ken life.”

Margot Robbie as Barbie.
Margot Robbie as Barbie.
©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett C

What we do know is that the fashion in the movie is internet-breaking, per the pictures of Robbie and Gosling on-set in fun costumes that went viral this summer.

Robbie later said she was “mortified” by the paparazzi’s presence and said photographers capturing the actors on neon rollerskates was “the most humiliating moment of my life.”

Greta Gerwig also added that Mattel has been "amazing partners.”
Greta Gerwig also added that Mattel has been “amazing.”
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The film features a star-studded cast including Will Ferrell, Issa Rae, America Ferrera, Michael Cera, Kate McKinnon and Simu Liu — with the latter admitting that waxing his body for the rumored role of another Ken doll “was one of the most painful experiences of my life.”

“Barbie” hits theaters on July 21, 2023.