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Greta Gerwig Teases ‘Barbie’ with an Unexpectedly Hilarious Homage to ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

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Anticipation for the Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling film just went up even higher.

nbspMargot Robbie and Ryan Gosling are seen rollerblading on the set of Barbie on June 28 2022 in Los Angeles California.

 Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling are seen rollerblading on the set of Barbie on June 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.Courteys of MEGA via Getty Images.

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie has been in the works for a while now, with paparazzi shots of Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as her shellacked beau, Ken, spiking curiosity over just what this project will be. We finally have our first look with a teaser trailer, and it happily confirms that this will be anything but a candy-coated kid flick..

The minute-long clip is an homage to 2001: A Space Oddysey’s opening sequence, in which apes discover the monolith. The Barbie teaser even seems to be set in the same rocky, prehistoric setting, and has the same soundtrack of Strauss’ “Also sprach Zarathustra.” It begins with Helen Mirren narrating, “Since the beginning of time, since the first little girl ever existed, there have been dolls” over video of young females playing with their traditional, wide-eyed plastic babies. Mirren continues: “But the dolls were always and forever baby dolls until…” And then, backlit and towering above them like Stanley Kubrick’s monolith, appears Robbie with a plastic smile, tipping her sunglasses to deliver a wink. Addled by her awesome power, the little girls smash their dolls to pieces, just as the apes destroyed the bones around them. (When a last doll is tossed in the air, instead of cutting to a rotating spaceship a la Kubrick, the trailer cuts to the gleaming Barbie logo.) 

After this spot-on parody, we get  a few rapid-fire clips from the actual film, including fleeting shots of fellow dolls played by Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, and Issa Rae.. Barbie seems to be taking an irreverent and meta approach reminiscent of The Lego Movie, with a decidedly  bright and candy-colored look.

Gerwig has been attached to the movie as a writer for years—she wrote the script with her longtime partner Noah Baumbach–and officially signed signed on to direct in July of 2021. (She received an Oscar nomination for directing 2017’s Lady Bird.) In a November interview on Dua Lipa’s At Your Service podcast, Gerwig admitted that beginning work on the movie was “terrifying” because of its open-endedness, but said it ultimately galvanized her. “Usually, that’s where the best stuff is. When you’re like, ‘I am terrified of that.’ Anything where you’re like, ‘This could be a career-ender,’ then you’re like, ‘OK, I probably should do it,’” she said.

The Barbie movie hits theaters July 21, and features a truly staggering cast that includes Will Ferrell, Kate McKinnon, Kingsley Ben-Adir, and Hari Neff. Prior to Barbie’s release, Robbie will appear in Damien Chazelle’s Babylon, and Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City.

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