Greta Gerwig Says She Was “Terrified” That ‘Barbie’ Might Be “A Career-Ender”

Greta Gerwig Says She Was “Terrified” That ‘Barbie’ Might Be “A Career-Ender”

Three-time Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig has opened up about the combination of excitement and terror she felt in taking on Warner Bros’ upcoming feature Barbie as co-writer and director.

“It was terrifying. I think there’s something about starting from that place where it’s like, ‘Well, anything is possible,'” Gerwig tells singer-songwriter Dua Lipa in an episode of her podcast At Your Service published on Friday. “It felt like vertigo starting to write it. Like, where do you even begin? What would be the story?”

Gerwig went on to say that she took the film on given the sense that the “terror” it was bringing upon her was of the “really interesting” variety — that the film would challenge her in ways that would be productive. 

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

The filmmaker told Dua Lipa that the execs at Mattel — the toymaker behind the Barbie line — have been “amazing partners” on the project, offering her a level of “trust and…freedom” that she feels is “incredibly” rare.

“Whatever we wanted [the film] to be, they did not try to micromanage it,” she shared. “They were completely onboard as partners, and that was extraordinary.”

While details as to the upcoming Barbie film’s plot remain under wraps, it will have Margot Robbie playing the iconic doll, with Ryan Gosling as her counterpart Ken. Others featuring in the pic’s starry ensemble include America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Simu Liu, Will Ferrell, Ariana Greenblatt, Emma Mackey, Alexandra Shipp, Issa Rae, Michael Cera, Hari Nef, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Rhea Perlman, Ncuti Gatwa, Emerald Fennell, Sharon Rooney, Scott Evans, Ana Cruz Kayne, Connor Swindells, Ritu Arya, Jamie Demetriou and Marisa Abela.

Gerwig wrote the script with her husband Noah Baumbach. Robbie and Tom Ackerley are producing under their LuckyChap Entertainment banner, alongside Mattel’s Robbie Brenner and Heyday Films’ David Heyman, with LuckyChap’s Josey McNamara and Mattel’s Ynon Kreiz serving as exec producers.

Gerwig can currently be seen starring opposite Adam Driver in Baumbach’s film White Noise, based on the postmodern novel of the same name by Don DeLillo. The Netflix pic world premiered at the Venice Film Festival and opens in select theaters today, before debuting on the streamer on December 30.

Gerwig’s latest directorial effort, Barbie, is slated for release on July 21, 2023.