Welcome to the dawn of (wo)man
In the trailer, a spoof of the ‘Dawn of Man’ sequence from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, we see young girls playing with their baby dolls in a prehistoric world, a warm sunrise lighting up the sky, and the familiar voice of Dame Helen Mirren drifting across the land.
“Since the first little girl ever existed,” declares Ms Mirren, “there have been dolls. But the dolls were always and forever baby dolls. Until…..” Enter Margot Robbie’s Barbie, one hundred feet tall and looming across the sun, winking down at the little girls as they play. The pigtail princesses proceed to destroy their baby dolls in favour of a new supreme: Margot’s swimsuit-clad, permed and polished Barbie statuette.
Barbie’s spectacular introduction is then followed by blink-and-you’ll-miss-them appearances from Ryan Gosling’s queer-coded Ken, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Ncuti Gatwa, Issa Rae and Simu Liu, plus a glimpse of the saccharine stylings of Gerwig’s brand new Barbieworld.
Other confirmed cast members include Emma Mackey, Hari Nef, America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Michael Cera, Alexandra Shipp, Jamie Demetriou, Scott Evans and Will Ferrell as the CEO of Mattel, who launched the OG Barbie doll back in 1959.
At the moment, it’s unclear whether the Kubrick homage is footage for the teaser or from the actual film, and details on the plot are quite scant. All we have at the moment is some paparazzi shots of Robbie and Gosling in matching 80s, day-glo, lycra ensembles, and the IMDb description “Barbie lives in Barbie Land and then a story happens”. Hmm.. very elusive.
Although, in a July interview with Empire magazine, Mackey revealed that “right in the beginning, we had a sleepover for the Barbies, which would involve playing games with Scott [Evans] and Ncuti [Gatwa]”, suggesting that there will be multiple actors playing different versions of Barbie, not just Robbie in the titular role.
And even more speculatively, the Letterboxd account of a user called ‘MaggieAckerley’ went viral on Twitter earlier this year, with fans suggesting that the handle belonged to none other than Miss Margot. On the account, under the heading ‘watch for Barbie’ were a number of films including Splash, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Truman Show.
Although it was never confirmed that the account belonged to Margot, it’s fun to speculate the inspiration for the film’s plot while we eagerly await its release.
Barbie will be released on July 21, 2023 in theatres worldwide.