At this point, it’s hard to imagine anyone else but Margot Robbie playing Barbie, but two other actresses almost brought the iconic doll to life in the Barbie movie. As she’s explained during promotional interviews for the film, Robbie has been attached to the Warner Bros. project for several years now, but prior to her being cast in the titular role, it went through several iterations. Before Greta Gerwig was involved as director, the rights were owned by Sony in 2014, which had a very different storyline planned for Barbie, and as the plot changed so did the stars that would headline it.
With a character as well known as Barbie, it stands to reason that a lot of Hollywood’s top talent would want to be a part of her story, particularly since her message of independence and positivity continues to resonate around the world. However, in the almost decade that Barbie’s been in development, some significant factors have led two actresses, in particular, to pass on the project. Based on Barbie’s cast details hinting that Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot was almost in Barbie, it’s time to look at the two other famous actresses who almost slipped into her pink pumps and walked off with the role ahead of Margot Robbie.
Amy Schumer Was First Cast As Barbie: How It’d Be Different & Why It Didn’t Happen
Prior to Margot being cast as Barbie, comedian Amy Schumer was the first name attached to playing one of Mattel’s most popular toys back in 2015. Known for raunchy comedies that let Schumer’s sense of humor prevail unfiltered, Schumer’s Barbie would have had some notable differences from Gerwig’s finished project, though the basic plot of leaving Barbieland to pursue her dreams in the Real World would have remained. It would have been a broader comedy with slapstick elements around Barbie developing a candy shoe as opposed to a satire with baked-in meta messages.
Ultimately, Schumer’s didn’t move forward for a few different reasons. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Schumer explained that there were “scheduling conflicts” as well as “creative differences” that caused her to walk away, not to mention the movie’s story at that time didn’t make Barbie very “feminist and cool.” At that point, Hilary Winston’s script was being developed at Sony, but by 2018 it moved to Warner Bros. where Greta Gerwig signed on as co-writer and director, with a script with Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in mind.
Anne Hathaway Was In Talks For Barbie Before Margot Robbie: Why It Didn’t Happen
Following Amy Schumer’s exit from the Barbie project in 2017, but before it moved to Warner Bros., Anne Hathaway was considered to play the leading role. According to Vanity Fair, a script by Olivia Milch, who had worked on Ocean’s 8 with Hathaway, was created with a certain storyline in mind in an attempt to woo the actress. However, by 2018 Sony’s option on Barbie timed out, and the rights reverted back to Mattel, at which point the company decided to go in a different direction.
Hathaway would have been a fine fit for the role given her early career in fizzy comedies, which might have made Barbie suitable for kids. If she had been able to channel her Princess Diaries and Devil Wears Prada perkiness into Barbie, then she would have been able to capture the quirkiness of her roots playing misunderstood heroines who eventually persevere against insurmountable odds. But scheduling conflicts and an inability to synchronize on creative differences proved that Hathaway, like Schumer, would have to walk away from the project before it really got off the ground.
Why Margot Robbie Is Perfect Barbie Casting
In the end, Margot Robbie was the perfect choice to play Barbie, especially given her energetic screen presence in movies like The Wolf of Wall Street, and her ability to fully explore the layers and complexity of characters in dramas like Mary Queen of Scots. She also didn’t want to hog the spotlight with the challenge of playing a living doll; Robbie’s one condition for playing Barbie helped make it more inclusive. When it comes to embodying beloved franchise characters, her portrayal of Batman alum Harley Quinn in both versions of Suicide Squad and her own stand-alone allowed her to channel an exuberance that matched the source material.
Not only does she have an infectious sense of positivity that’s ideal for Barbie, but she also makes smart choices when it comes to her burgeoning filmography. Robbie tends to pick roles that will not just satisfy her desire to work with incredible filmmakers and fellow performers, but also allow her to develop her range and grow as an actor. Robbie acknowledges and respects the importance of Barbie in the lives of her fans, and is able to see the character’s appeal as more than just a fashion idol, but as an embodiment of self-actualization, and a hero for anyone questioning where they fit into a wider world.