Greta Gerwig Refused to Cut Her Favorite Barbie Scene: "It Was the Heart of the Movie"
Greta Gerwig, the director of Barbie, the live-action fantasy comedy film based on the popular Mattel fashion dolls, has revealed that she refused to cut a scene from the movie that she considered to be the "heart of the movie", despite suggestions from studio executives that it was unnecessary and could be removed. The scene in question features Barbie (Margot Robbie) meeting an elderly woman on a bench and telling her she's beautiful.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Gerwig said that she loved that scene so much, and that the older woman on the bench was played by legendary costume designer Ann Roth, who has worked on films such as The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and The Hours. Gerwig said that the scene was a "cul-de-sac of a moment", meaning that it didn't lead anywhere in terms of plot, but it was essential for conveying Barbie's character and message.
"I love that scene so much," Gerwig said. "And the older woman on the bench is the costume designer Ann Roth. She's a legend. It's a cul-de-sac of a moment, in a way — it doesn't lead anywhere. And 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.'"
Gerwig explained that the scene represented Barbie's kindness and generosity, as well as her ability to see beauty in everyone and everything. She also said that the scene was influenced by her Catholic upbringing and her resonance with "older story forms" that deal with themes of grace and love.
"That's how I saw it. To me, this is the heart of the movie," she continued. "The way Margot plays that moment is so gentle and so unforced. There's the more outrageous elements in the movie that people say, 'Oh, my God, I can't believe Mattel let you do this,' or, 'I can't believe Warner Bros. let you do this.' 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."
Gerwig added: "The idea of a loving God who's a mother, a grandmother — who looks at you and says, 'Honey, you're doing ok' — is something I feel like I need and I wanted to give to other people. If I cut that scene, I don't know why I'm making this movie. If I don't have that scene, I don't know what it is or what I've done."
Gerwig also revealed in other interviews that she had to fight for another scene from the movie where a teenager eviscerates Barbie to her face. According to Time magazine , Mattel president and COO Richard Dickson flew to the movie's London set at one point during production to argue with Gerwig and Robbie about the scene because he believed it was off-brand for the company. The director and her star convinced Dickson to keep the scene in the film by performing it for him live on set.
Barbie tells the story of Barbie Roberts , a doll who lives in Barbieland , a perfect and plastic world where everyone is happy and beautiful. However, she suffers from an existential crisis that leads her to question her purpose and identity. She is expelled from Barbieland for not fitting in with the other dolls' expectations and standards. She then embarks on an epic adventure in the real world , where she meets new friends , faces new challenges , discovers new talents , and learns to embrace her true self .
Barbie is rated PG-13 for suggestive references and brief language. It has a running time of 114 minutes. It is now playing in theaters across North America.
- Greta Gerwig Refused to Cut a ‘Barbie’ Scene That’s the ‘Heart of the Movie,’ Told Execs: ‘If I Cut That, I Don’t Know Why I’m Making This Film’ - Variety
- Greta Gerwig Says Her Catholic Upbringing Influenced 'Barbie' Scenes - Insider
- Greta Gerwig reveals few scenes in Barbie ‘resonate’ with her Catholic background - The News
- Greta Gerwig Crashes ‘Barbie Premiere’ at Alamo Drafthouse - Yahoo News