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Greta Gerwig And Noah Baumbach Compare Writing The Barbie Movie To Playing With Barbies

Greta Gerwig apparently had a ton of fun writing the "Barbie" movie — which makes sense, considering the material.

In a Vogue profile that spoke to Gerwig and her two stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling — who play the main Barbie and Ken — Gerwig and her creative and life partner, Noah Baumbach, opened up about what it was really like to write this highly anticipated movie... and said it just felt like playing with toys.

Gerwig told Vogue the process, despite concerns about Mattel wanting a ton of say over their character, felt "wide open," and Baumbach agreed: ""There really was this kind of open, free road that we could keep building. It's like you're playing with dolls when you're writing something, and in this case, of course, there was this extra layer in that they were dolls." Gerwig agreed, saying, "It was literally imaginative play."

Baumbach also noted that writing the movie in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic helped create a looser atmosphere. "We were in the pandemic, and everybody had the feeling of, 'who knows what the world is going to look like.' That fueled it as well. That feeling of: 'well, here goes nothing.'"

Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach took a unique approach to writing the Barbie movie

According to the profile, Baumbach and Gerwig really just went for it when it came to the Barbie movie, considering that Mattel and Robbie's production company Lucky Chap gave them full creative freedom. Gerwig even penned a poem, apparently; as Robbie relayed to Vogue, "Greta wrote an abstract poem about Barbie. And when I say 'abstract,' I mean it was super abstract." Interviewer Abby Aguire noted that Gerwig chose not to read the poem but said that it "shares some similarities with the Apostles' Creed."

Gerwig also said that the overall idea was somewhat inspired by a book she read as a kid called "Reviving Ophelia," a popular book in the 1990s. The book focuses on why young girls in America become more reserved and cautious as they grow up, which caught Gerwig's attention. "They're funny and brash and confident, and then they just—stop," Gerwig said, going on to say that remembering this ended up giving her a jolt of creative inspiration for Barbie's modern story. "How is this journey the same thing that a teenage girl feels? All of a sudden, she thinks, Oh, I'm not good enough," Gerwig continued.

Greta Gerwig's first two films are also about girlhood

Gerwig may have written "Barbie" alongside Baumbach — the two worked together previously on "Greenberg," "Frances Ha," "Mistress America," and "White Noise" — but she's the one who's uniquely positioned to tell another story about the intricacies of girlhood. After writing movies with Baumbach and appearing in them as well, Gerwig stepped fully behind the camera in 2017 with her directorial debut "Lady Bird," a coming-of-age story set in Sacramento and starring Gerwig's collaborator Saoirse Ronan that earned Gerwig an Academy Award nomination for Best Director.

Then, in 2019, Gerwig helmed an adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel "Little Women" — and despite the fact that there's already a ton of beloved film and television adaptations of this novel, Gerwig's has more than earned its place among them. Switching effortlessly between two timelines, Gerwig's version ends with Jo March (Ronan again) publishing the book about her family instead of getting married (which she only does in a sequence seemingly meant to be a dream), marking her as a director who innately understands how to tell stories that are both new and completely familiar. The "Barbie" movie remains largely shrouded in mystery, but with Gerwig's track record, fans have every reason to be excited.