The movie’s director and co-writer is currently basking in its huge success after what has been a record-breaking opening weekend; Gerwig has broken the domestic box office record for a female director, with a debut of $155m in North America and $337m globally.
Barbie is receiving acclaim from critics and audiences – but, according to Gerwig, studio executives working at Warner Bros Pictures asked her to consider removing a scene from the finished film.
The scene in question arrives shortly after Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling) arrive in the real world.
As Ken wanders off on his own adventure, Barbie sits on a bench and notices strangers around her experiencing different emotions. Sat next to her is a woman reading a newspaper and, after the pair exchange a glance, Barbie tells her: “You’re so beautiful.” The lady abruptly replies: “I know it,” to which the pair start laughing.
When Ken returns, and Barbie leaves with him, she looks back at the woman who has resumed reading her newspaper.
Gerwig reflected on the moment with Rolling Stone, saying: “I love that scene so much. 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.”
It was for this reason that studio bosses thought the film might have been better without the scene, with Gerwig revealing: “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.’”
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.”
Roth, 91, has won two Oscars for costume design – once for The English Patient (1996) and again for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020).
She also received nominations for her work on Places in the Heart (1985), The Talented Mr Ripley (1999) and The Hours (2002).
Roth has previously worked with Barbie co-writer, and Gerwig’s husband, Noah Baumbach on three occasions: Margot at the Wedding (2007), While We’re Young (2014) and White Noise (2022).
Barbie is in cinemas now. Find The Independent’s review of the film here.
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