The project has been in the works for over two years at Sony and already has a targeted release date. Schumer was finally cast in the title role and is the first actress involved on the project. It still doesn’t have a director.
Schumer might look like an unconventional pick for Barbie, but Sony’s goal appears to be to create a movie to empower a female audience. The script Sony is using is about a woman who starts out in a perfect world she doesn’t fit in. Eventually, she is kicked out and learns that what makes her unique will help her survive in the real world.
Here’s what we know so far about the film and what Schumer’s other upcoming projects are.
1. ‘Barbie’ Has Been in Development Since 2014 at Sony & Still Doesn’t Have a Director
Barbie might be one of the most famous toy properties in the world, but bringing it to the big screen has been really hard. A live-action film was first being developed at Universal, but in April 2014, Variety reported that Mattel took it to Sony Pictures. It had been at Universal since at least 2009, but producer Laurence Mark couldn’t get it made.
Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald will produce and a script was written by Jenny Bicks (The Big C, Rio 2). Amazingly, Sony thought they could get cameras rolling by the end of 2014, but that never happened.
Parkes and MacDonald are still on the project, but The Hollywood Reporter reported on December 2 that a script by Hilary Winston (My Name Is Earl, Winston) is the one Sony will start with.
The plot of the current script has Schumer as a woman living in a world of Barbies and learning that she doesn’t fit in. She then has to live in the real world, where she learns that what makes her unique helps her survive. That’s a big leap from a previous version that had Barbie as buddy comedy, where Barbie was paired with an overworked bureaucrat.
2. The Plan Is to Make ‘Barbie’ a PG Movie With Schumer Working on the Script
Deadline reports that the plan for Barbie is to make it a PG movie, which is certainly different that Schumer’s star-making Trainwreck, which was rated R. Schumer is expected to give the Winston script a polish, with her sister Kim Caramele.
The deal for Schumer is being finalized now. Deadline reports that Winston “cracked the code” to make Barbie work as a movie and Sony chief Tom Rothman thought that Schumer would be perfect for the role. He even personally pitched it to her.
After she read the Winston script, Schumer agreed to do it.
Mattel has made efforts to change with the times, adding different types of bodies to the Barbie doll line. It’s an idea that Schumer likely approves of, since she has struggled with body image within the film industry.
As Schumer told the Today Show:
“It’s an emotional thing. It’s been a struggle for me my whole life, and especially just being in the entertainment industry. Standing on a stage in front of people, I can’t perform my best or be confident if I’m not sure — if I’m pulling at something [I’m wearing]. And sometimes I would just want to throw in the towel and be like, ‘I’m not gonna go do standup tonight.'”
3. There’s No Director Attached, but Sony Wants to Release the Movie in 2018
Sony still doesn’t have a director for the film. They want to hire a woman to direct, Deadline notes and had Thea Sharrock on their shortlist. However, she is currently unavailable.
Sharrock isn’t an unexpected pick. She just directed the surprise box office hit Me Before You. The Emilia Clarke-starring romance grossed $56.2 million in North America and $151.6 million overseas. It only cost Warner Bros. $20 million to make.
Despite having no one at the helm of the movie yet, Sony is hoping to get it in theaters by 2018, almost 60 years after Barbie dolls first hit stores. In March 2016, Sony wanted to get the movie out on May 12, 2017, but that clearly isn’t going to happen.
4. Over 1 Billion Barbie Dolls Have Been Sold Since 1959 & Reese Witherspoon Is Producing a Movie About Her Creator
Back in November 2015, The Tracking Board reported that Reese Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard bought the rights to Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her by Robin Gerber. The book is about Handler and was first published in 2010. Variety reported that Witherspoon might even star in it.
However, there hasn’t been any updates on that project since November 2015.
5. Schumer Just Finished Making a Movie With Goldie Hawn
Schumer has just finished making a mother-daughter comedy for Fox that is still untitled. It’s scheduled to come out on May 12, 2017, so it should have a title soon. Her mother is played by Goldie Hawn and the cast also includes Ike Barinholtz and Wanda Sykes. Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies, 50/50) directed the film.
The comedian also finished work on Thank You For Your Serivce, a serious film about the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on soldiers. Miles Teller and Haley Bennett also star. Jason Hall, who earned an Oscar nomination for adapting American Sniper, directed the film.