By Gwynne Watkins, Yahoo Entertainment
Millions of children have played with Barbies — so why is it so hard to find someone to play Barbie? Margot Robbie has just signed on to portray the plastic fashion doll in the first live-action Barbie feature film.
That makes her the third actress to accept the role in just over two years after Amy Schumer and Anne Hathaway exited the film. Will Robbie stay the course, or will there be more drama in the Barbie Dream House?
In a statement, Robbie (who will also co-produce the film for Warner Bros.) wrote that she considered the offer to be an honour.
“Over the brand’s almost 60 years, Barbie has empowered kids to imagine themselves in aspirational roles from a princess to president,” said the Oscar nominee. “I’m so honoured to take on this role and produce a film that I believe will have a tremendously positive impact on children and audiences worldwide.”
Schumer was the first star announced for the Barbie film in December 2016. At the time, the comedy was being distributed by Sony and described as “a fish-out-of-water story reminiscent of films like Splash and Big,” the idea being that Schumer’s Barbie is kicked out of Barbieland and forced to live in the real world because she isn’t “perfect” enough. Schumer, who also did a polish on the script, faced backlash from internet trolls for being “too fat” to play a doll whose proportions are in fact, not humanly possible.
The comedian was undeterred, posting a message on Instagram that thanked her haters “for making it so evident that I am a great choice.”
Three months later, Schumer surprised her fans by dropping out of the film, a decision she attributed to “scheduling conflicts.” In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment (watch it below), Schumer appeared sincerely disappointed that she wouldn’t get a chance to play Barbie.
“I’m so bummed. I really tried to make it work,” said Schumer, who suggested Mindy Kaling and “anybody from the cast of Big Little Lies” as potential Barbie replacements.
The producers had another idea: Anne Hathaway. The Oscar winner was announced as Schumer’s likely replacement in July 2017. Six months later, Sony postponed the film’s release date from August 2018 to May 2020, presumably losing Hathaway in the process.
That brings us to Robbie, who at 28 is the youngest and most Barbie-resembling actress to be cast in the role. With her participation, the film may actually happen in time for that 2020 release date. But if she does drop out, perhaps the producers could consider an actress who’s the same age as the real Barbie… like 60-year-old Madonna.