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Greta Gerwig Feared The Barbie Movie Would Sink Her Career

Greta Gerwig can do it all when it comes to the Hollywood film industry. Gerwig may have started her career as an obscure actor in 2006 on the television series "Young American Bodies" and in the film "LOL," but the thespian grew into her acting chops and rose to prominence with standout performances in "Frances Ha," "Hannah Takes the Stairs," and "Mistress America." However, Gerwig may have found her true calling as a bonafide filmmaker thanks to her Oscar-nominated successes in "Lady Bird" and "Little Women." And Gerwig will arguably face her greatest challenge when she brings "Barbie" to life on the big screen.

Gerwig landed the opportunity to pen the "Barbie" screenplay thanks to actor Margot Robbie. "She [Robbie] had secured the rights to Barbie with her company," Gerwig said during an interview on the "Dua Lipa: At Your Service" podcast. "[She] had brought it to Warner Bros. with Mattel, so they had it set up at Warner Bros., with Mattel, with her. And then she came to me and said, 'Would you be interested in writing this?' And I said, 'Yes!'"

Gerwig also revealed in the same podcast that she threw her real-life and creative partner, Noah Baumbach, under the bus by volunteering him to co-write the "Barbie" script without even discussing the situation with him. Gerwig's enthusiasm to jump aboard the Barbie train at full throttle was definitely present, even before she decided to double down and direct the picture, too. But at one point, Gerwig thought "Barbie" might actually be the end of her career.

Gerwig worried Barbie would be a 'career-ender'

Every film project comes with its own risks and rewards in Hollywood, and the potential of derailing one's career is always a possibility. So, naturally, Greta Gerwig worried about whether or not she and her partner, Noah Baumbach, should even pen the script for "Barbie." "Noah said, 'Are we meant to be writing a Barbie movie?' And I said, 'Yes!' And he was like, 'I don't have any ideas for that!'" Gerwig said during an interview on the "Dua Lipa: At Your Service" podcast.

During the writing process, Gerwig realized she wasn't just content with simply writing the screenplay; Gerwig wanted to take on the additional challenge of directing the film, too, according to the same podcast. "That feeling I had was knowing that it would be really interesting terror," Gerwig told Lipa. "And usually that's where the best stuff is. When you're like, 'I am terrified of that, and I don't know, this could be a career-ender.' And you're like, 'Okay, I probably should do it.'"

Gerwig also revealed in the podcast that she didn't experience any resistance from Mattel during the creative process, and the filmmaker had the full support of Barbie's founding company when it came to making the doll's big-screen adaptation. "They [Mattel] have given us such trust and such freedom," Gerwig told Lipa. "And I think that is incredibly rare. Whatever we wanted it to be, they did not try to micromanage it." 

"Barbie" will release in theaters on July 21, 2023.