Diablo Cody Explains How She’s ‘— The Bed’ With Her Abandoned Barbie Script

Diablo Cody draws the pink curtains on his ill-fated attempt to write a Barbie movie.

Oscar winner Juno screenwriter had been part of the writing team behind Sony’s big screen Barbie project, which was to star Amy Schumer. But Cody left the film in 2018, a year after Schumer’s own exit. (Cody told Screen Crush at the time, “I failed so badly on this project. I was literally unable to make a Barbie disorganized. God knows I tried.”) Now, Cody reflects on what went wrong before the release of Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie’s film based on the iconic Mattel doll.

“I think I know why I s— the bed,” she said in a new QG interview. “When I was first hired for this, I don’t think the culture hadn’t yet embraced the woman or the bimbo as valid feminist archetypes. If you search ‘Barbie’ on TikTok, you’ll find this wonderful subculture that celebrates the feminine, but in 2014, taking this skinny, blond, white doll and turning her into a heroine was a tall order.”

Diablo Cody;  Margot Robbie in "Barbie"

Diablo Cody; Margot Robbie in “Barbie”

Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images; Pictures from Warner Bros. Diablo Cody; Margot Robbie in “Barbie”

Sony’s vision of pairing its idiosyncratic writing with a crass comedian like Schumer was better in theory than in execution, Cody said. “This anti-Barbie idea made a lot of sense given the feminist rhetoric of a decade ago,” she said. “I didn’t really have the freedom to write something that was true to the iconography; they wanted a feminist, bossy twist on Barbie, and I couldn’t figure it out because that’s not what is Barbie.”

Schumer revealed last month that she had left the Barbie film due to creative differences, despite initial claims of scheduling conflicts. The project didn’t “seem feminist or cool,” she told Andy Cohen, adding that she was looking forward to watching the Gerwig and Robbie film, which Warner Bros. will be released on July 21. Although Anne Hathaway had been in talks to replace Schumer, the creative team had hit a roadblock, and Cody attributed part of it to the success of the The Lego Movie.

“I have heard endless references to The Lego Movie in development and it was a problem for me because they had done it so well,” she said. QG. “Every time I came up with something meta it felt too much like what they did. It was a roadblock for me, but now enough time has passed that they can just pitch [Lego Movie antagonist] Will Ferrell as a real-life antagonist Barbie movie and nobody cares.”

Like Schumer, Cody is thrilled to see Barbie, whom she humorously called “my Joker.The film follows Robbie’s titular Barbie as she goes through an existential crisis and embarks on a journey from Barbie Land to the real world in search of answers.

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