EXCLUSIVE: Besides sweeping the U.S. — and the world — this summer’s blockbuster phenom Barbie introduced fans to the creator of the hugely popular doll, Ruth Handler, who was played in the movie by Rhea Perlman. A potential TV series looks to go deeper into Handler’s story.
In a move, which I hear came before the July release of Barbie as well as the May start of the WGA strike, CBS Studios has acquired for series development “You Don’t Own Me: How Mattel V. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie’s Dark Side,” a book by USD law professor Orly Lobel, which follows the parallel journeys of Barbie creator Ruth Handler and Bratz creator Carter Bryant.
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Bratz, the billion-dollar, anti-establishment rival to the all-American Barbie, originated when Bryant began designing the dolls during time off from his job at Mattel, where he designed outfits for Barbie. He later sold his concept for Bratz to rival company MGA while back at Mattel, sparking a decade-long court battle.
You Don’t Own Me explores the dark side of the doll wars set against the cultural revolution that Barbie spawned, the subsequent backlash, and the cut-throat, high-stakes world of toys. It follows Handler and Bryant, the brilliant, tortured creators of Barbie and Bratz – two quintessential outsiders who create dolls that literally change the world but nearly destroy themselves in the process.
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