In a new Time cover story, the star and executive producer said that if Mattel hadn't gone with the idea of a multiplicity of Barbies, "I don't think I would have wanted to attempt to make a Barbie film." In accordance with the toy company's ethos that Barbie isn't restricted to one personality, body, or woman, Robbie added, "I don't think you should say, 'This is the one version of what Barbie is, and that's what women should aspire to be and look like and act like.'"
There are currently 175 different Barbie dolls with different skin tones, body shapes, and hair types, and Mattel and Robbie wanted to reflect that. When Robbie and her production company approached the toy maker about a movie in 2018, the executives zeroed in on the actress to play the titular Barbie, known as "Stereotypical Barbie," to anchor the film. Mattel COO and president Richard Dickson saw Robbie's casting as the opportunity to "get audiences who haven't followed Mattel's latest updates into theaters."
Warner Bros. Pictures Ana Cruz Kayne, Sharon Rooney, Alexandra Shipp, Margot Robbie, Hari Nef, and Emma Mackey in 'Barbie'
"Of course she looks like Barbie," Dickson told Time. "But they're all Barbie. It's the perfect cast to express what Barbie is today. And Margot is the bridge."
Issa Rae, who plays President Barbie, added, "My worry was that it was going to feel too white feminist-y, but I think that it's self-aware. Barbie Land is perfect, right? It represents perfection. So if perfection is just a bunch of white Barbies, I don't know that anybody can get on board with that."
Other Barbies in the movie include Kate McKinnon as Weird Barbie, Alexandra Shipp as Author Barbie, Sharon Rooney as Lawyer Barbie, Nicola Coughlan as Diplomat Barbie, and Dua Lipa as Mermaid Barbie. The film also features multiple versions of Ken, with Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, Ncuti Gatwa, Kingsley Ben-Adir, and Scott Evans among the actors playing the boy toys.
Barbie arrives in theaters July 21.