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Barbie: Diablo Cody opens up about why she exited the blonde bombshell’s silver screen spectacle

Barbie: Diablo Cody opens up about why she exited the blonde bombshell’s silver screen spectacle

Original Barbie writer Diablo Cody opens up about her exit from Sony’s attempt to bring the blonde bombshell to screens.

Like most films, Barbie‘s journey to the silver screen is a tricky bit of Hollywood back-and-forth. Initially, Sony owned the rights to the blonde bombshell’s silver-screen antics, but that venture stalled out after several missteps. There was a time when Amy Schumer and Anne Hathaway could have been behind the wheel of Barbie’s pink convertible. Still, they exited the project when bringing the Mattel icon to theaters proved too exhausting. Schumer said she fled Barbie after thinking the script wasn’t “feminist and cool” enough. She’s just one of many who found Sony’s approach to the material needing more refinement. Enter Diablo Cody, who 2018 told ScreenCrush she left the project because she “was literally incapable of turning in a ‘Barbie’ draft. God knows I tried.”

It’s been several years since Cody’s comments, and now she’s opening up to GQ magazine about why she abandoned her mission to introduce audiences to a different kind of Barbie.

“I think I know why I shit the bed,” Cody told the outlet. “When I was first hired for this, I don’t think the culture had not embraced the femme or the bimbo as valid feminist archetypes yet. If you look up ‘Barbie’ on TikTok you’ll find this wonderful subculture that celebrates the feminine, but in 2014, taking this skinny blonde white doll and making her into a heroine was a tall order.”

With so much progress left to go, times have changed since Cody was tasked with bringing Barbie to cinemas. Cody’s script didn’t work because of Schumer’s unique approach to comedy. “That idea of an anti-Barbie made a lot of sense given the feminist rhetoric of 10 years ago,” Cody said. “I didn’t really have the freedom then to write something that was faithful to the iconography; they wanted a girl-boss feminist twist on Barbie, and I couldn’t figure it out because that’s not what Barbie is.”

Interestingly, The Lego Movie played a part in Cody’s frustration with Sony’s desire for a new take on the plastic icon. The animated build-a-brick adventure figured out the formula for bringing toys to the big screen, with dollars raining down and tie-in merchandise selling like hotcakes. Sony wanted that same reaction from audiences for Barbie. People often say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but in Cody’s case, The Lego Movie acted like a shadow cast upon her best efforts.

“I heard endless references to ‘The Lego Movie’ in development,” Cody told GQ, “and it created a problem for me because they had done it so well. Any time I came up with something meta, it was too much like what they had done. It was a roadblock for me, but now enough time has passed that they can just cast [‘The Lego Movie’ antagonist] Will Ferrell as the antagonist in a real-life Barbie movie and nobody cares.”

Despite Barbie’s complicated journey to screens, Greta Gerwig‘s version is one of the year’s most anticipated films. The current iteration of Barbie looks odd, meta, stylish, and dark regardless of the sets getting washed in pretty pinks and eye-popping neon. Let’s hope the version we get is the ideal.

The Barbie cast includes many of Hollywood’s heavy hitters and fresh faces, including Margot Robbie (The Suicide Squad) and Ryan Gosling (La La Land) as Barbie and Ken, alongside America Ferrera (End of Watch), Kate McKinnon (The Spy Who Dumped Me), Michael Cera (Arrested Development), Ariana Greenblatt (Borderlands), Issa Rae (Insecure), Thea Perlman (Matilda), and Will Ferrell (Elf). The film also stars Ana Cruz Kayne (Little Women), Emma Mackey (Sex Education), Nari Nef (Transparent), Alexandra Shipp (the X-Men films), Kingsley Ben-Adir (Secret Invasion), Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), Ncuiti Gatwa (Doctor Who), Scott Evans (Grace and Frankie), Jamie Demetriou (Cruella), Connor Swindells (Emma), Sharon Rooney (Dumbo), Nicola Coughlan (Bridgerton), Ritu Arya (The Umbrella Academy), Dua Lipa, and Helen Mirren (The Queen).

Greta Gerwig directs from a screenplay she wrote with Noah Baumbach, based on Mattel’s rich history with the Barbie toy brand. The film’s producers are Oscar nominee David Heyman (Marriage StoryGravity), Robbie, Tom Ackerley, and Robbie Brenner, with Michael Sharp, Josey McNamara, Ynon Kreiz, Courtenay Valenti, Toby Emmerich, and Cate Adams serving as executive producers.

Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/barbie-diablo-cody-exits/

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