Gerwig, who received two Academy Award nominations as writer-director of 2018 hit Lady Bird, is also being considered as director, according to Variety.
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Executive producer of Mattel Films, Robbie Brenner, praised “passionate” Gerwig’s signing. Speaking at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference he said: “She loves Barbie, she’s so passionate about this, she grew up with Barbie, and it’s going to be a very, very exciting collaboration.”
The upcoming film marks a dramatic change for the husband and wife duo, who have previously worked together on indie titles such as Greenberg and Frances Ha.
Aussie actress Robbie, who has been cast to play the iconic doll, will also serve as a producer on the Warner Bros. backed movie.
“I’m so honoured to take on this role and produce a film that I believe will have a tremendously positive impact on children and audiences worldwide,” she said in a statement in January.
While Barbie has been a staple on toy shelves for 60 years, and has been the ‘star’ of many animated features, the idea of a live-action film only rose to prominence in 2014 when Sony and Barbie manufacturer Mattel decided to bring the doll to life on the big screen.
Amy Schumer was initially linked to the project, which was scheduled for a 2018 release date, but was later forced to pull out due to scheduling conflicts. Anne Hathaway was also linked at one point.
Barbie has faced a series of controversies, including promoting an unrealistic body shape in young women, but Brenner said the film will make viewers question their perspective on the brand.
“For us, the Barbie movie should definitely have a message of female empowerment, and that you can dream and be anything you want,” she said.
“I do think it’s important to push the boundaries and push the limits. And I think people are really ready to see something different.”
The as-yet untitled Barbie movie is slated for a 2020 release