Jennifer Jul 10, 2023 Interviews

In Barbie, the titular character grapples with questions about the perfect world of Barbie Land and her very existence. This crisis leads to Barbie being kicked out of the utopia of Barbie Land and sent to the real world. While there, she discovers unexpected truths about herself, Ken, and how the world sees Barbie.

Greta Gerwig helms Barbie as director and co-writes the screenplay along with Noah Baumbach. Margot Robbie both stars in and produces the new movie, but she also leads the star-studded Barbie cast alongside Will Ferrell, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Rhea Perlman, Simu Liu, Michael Cera, and Helen Mirren.

Screen Rant spoke with America Ferrera about her role in Barbie. She discussed collaborating with Gerwig and Robbie as director and producer respectively. Ferrera also touched on the symbolism of Barbie and shared intriguing insights into her character in the new movie.

Screen Rant: I love this movie. It has so much to say, and I love a movie that makes you think afterward, which this does brilliantly. What did Barbie mean to you growing up, and what does Barbie mean to you after making this film?

America Ferrera: Yeah, I didn’t play with Barbies growing up — I think mostly because we couldn’t afford it. And also because I didn’t resonate with the world; Barbie didn’t really represent me.

Gloria has a very specific view of Barbie, which differs from her daughter. Why do you think this perspective of the doll has changed with generations?

America Ferrera: I think that’s why Barbie is still around. If Barbie didn’t change, she would just be antagonistic; she couldn’t survive in this culture. This has to happen for her to mean anything to us. I just think that in order to resonate with new generations of young women and mothers, it just has to shift.

Greta Gerwig is phenomenal, she’s one of the smartest directors out there, and Margot Robbie is a fantastic producer. What did they bring to this movie to take it to a new level with comedy and commentary?

America Ferrera: I mean, everything. When I think about all the different versions of this movie that could have been, and how many times you could watch a movie and go, “Oh, that was a missed opportunity,” or “Why didn’t they take a risk?” My first thought when I finished reading the script was, “There’s no way they’re gonna let them make this movie. How are they going to let them make this?”

Barbie symbolizes endless possibilities, which I think this movie captures amazingly. How does your character tap into that symbolism with Barbie?

America Ferrera: Yeah, it’s interesting, because it’s the double-edged sword of endless possibilities. What’s beautiful about the journey is that, essentially, the truth [is] that there’s no such thing as perfect, and there’s no such thing as having it all. There’s no such thing as getting to be everything that you want to be; there’s embracing who you are and celebrating that.

But what was so wonderful about the script was that this is an expansion of that world to include more of us, and to get to be a part of taking something so iconic and archetypal and culturally dominant like Barbie, that has set standards for girls and women for decades, and be a part of the legacy of that. Expanding it was such a joy; to get to do it with this character, Gloria, who is kind of all of us trying to figure out what it means to be a woman, real or imagined.

I get that Greta and Noah were writing it in a pandemic, because it felt like the world was ending and who cares? [Laughs] But, like, “Is anyone gonna let them make it?” I give all the flowers to Margot for having the foresight to pick Greta; to go that route and give Barbie a more thoughtful, meaningful update that they didn’t have to do. But they chose to do it, and that’s a gift to all of us.

To me, when I walk out of the movie, that’s what I feel. I feel this burning desire to dance, wear bright colors; to just find joy, and really be all the things that I am. I feel like the movie gives us permission to be all of the things we are, for Barbie and for kids.

Source: Screen Rant