Since Mattel first launched the fashion-focused doll in 1959, Barbie has remained one of the most popular and iconic toys in the world. The doll has since been spun off into an entire line, along with a number of direct-to-video movies, games, and plenty of branded merchandise. Fast-forward 50 years to 2009, when film studio Universal first set their sights on adapting the property into a live-action film. Given the complex social changes that have happened around the line since then, however, this hasn’t proven to be an easy task. While the Barbie doll was long seen as an innocent toy for young girls, it’s always had over it the specter of an unrealistic ideal and example for children. The Internet is full of examples of what a human would look like if they had Barbie’s unusual proportions (we’ll save you the horror by not embedding one).
In the past few decades, Mattel has made a number of changes to the line to better reflect their target market. Barbie has expanded her list of career options, been released in a number of different skin colors, and has had versions released that better match the body dimensions of, well, actual human beings. Most of these changes have been met with praise by the general public, which of course is the goal for any company seeking to increase their profits and relevance.
That eye towards a more realistic portrayal of Barbie finally lined-up with the attempts by Sony (which took over the rights from Universal) to make the character a live-action star – when it was revealed that comedian and actor Amy Schumer would be starring in the upcoming film. Now that the project has a lead, the film has vacated its previous 2017 release date and is moving into a much dreamier one on June 29th, 2018.
The move makes sense, as the film will likely be going through a number of rewrites now that Schumer is onboard. Known as a writer for films like Trainwreck and her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer, it’s possible that Sony hired Schumer with an eye on her revising the script. In the years since the studio took over the film, it’s gone through a number of permutations. First, Diablo Cody (Juno) took a crack at it. Then came the writers of Community and Easy A and their attempt late last year. With Schumer’s work often tackling subjects like body image, the sexualization of women, and society’s double-standards, it makes sense that Sony would want the writer involved in a project related to a brand that often been mired in the same issues.
Set to focus on one woman—Schumer—who feels she doesn’t feel at place in the perfect world of Barbies she inhabits, the comedian seems like a natural fit. The one questions is whether the film will be attemping to appeal to an older demographic than the toy line normally does. While toy-based films like Transformers have shot for broader audiences, Schumer’s comedy is hardly known to be family-freidnly. Either way, this looks to be an exciting next chapter for a brand that isn’t afraid to change with the times and reflect its consumers. We’ll bring you more news as details continue to emerge.
Barbie will reach theaters on June 29th, 2018.
Source: Sony [via Exhibitor Relations]
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