Sony Wins Rights to Live-Action Barbie Movie


Studio apparently hoping for a hit of problematically unattainable proportions

Long before movies based on action figures, building blocks and even Easter candy were the hot ticket in Hollywood, generations of studios and producers have sought to create a live-action movie based on the iconic Barbie dolls. Pitches and overtures (outside of a series of direct-to-video animated features) had always been rejected by Mattel, but no longer: The company was reportedly won-over by a pitch from producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, which quickly secured an immediate green light from Sony bigwigs Amy Pascal and Hannah Minghella.

Jenny Bicks, a former writer for Sex & The City, will pen the screenplay, which the producers describe as a comedy wherein Barbie functions as a “modern-day Mary Poppins” who uses her myriad professional skills to improve the lives of people she encounters. No casting has been announced, but the production will reportedly seek to “discover” a new, unknown young actress to take the lead role rather than casting an established star; with more well-known actors in the roles of folks Barbie encounters across what the studio hopes will be multiple films.

Barbie was created in 1959 by Ruth Handler, the wife of a Mattel co-founder, who had long tried in vain to convince the fledgling toy company that a “fashion doll” with an adult female body (as opposed to baby dolls which dominated the market at the time) would be a popular item. While on vacation in Germany, she discovered that a doll of the type she’d envisioned had already been produced as “Bild Lili,” an adult-marketed toy based on a risque German comic strip. Using Lili as a model, Handler convinced Mattel to take a chance on Barbie – which quickly became one of the biggest-selling toys in history and the bedrock of the company’s ongoing mega-success.

Presumably, this person will not be considered for the title role.

Source: Deadline Hollywood

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Bob Chipman
Bob Chipman is a critic and author.