Greta Gerwig Compares Barbie and Ken to Adam and Eve Creation Myth

in Entertainment, Movies & TV

Actress Margo Robbie and Actor Ryan Gosling in roles of Barbie and Ken in 'Barbie' (2023) Movie

Credit: Inside the Magic

People are really buzzing about the upcoming Barbie movie, and with good reason. If the first trailer – which we now know displays the opening scene of the film – weren’t enough, the second, featuring Barbie and Ken, definitely blew everyone out of the water.

Related: Margot Robbie Wants to Unsexualize the Barbie Doll

In this trailer, you get the distinct feeling that Barbie is the center of the universe, and all the Kens are just an afterthought. This was confirmed by Vogue – they recently revealed that in the film, in a voiceover from Helen Mirren, we are told:

“Barbie has a great day every day; Ken only has a great day if Barbie looks at him.” 

This essentially means that Ken’s only reason to exist is Barbie – which more or less tracks with the reason Ken was actually created.

The first Barbie doll was released in March of 1959. By 1961, Mattel had received letter upon letter demanding that Barbie get a man, so they created one for her. In other words, the Gods making life happen for the Barbie dolls decided that their Barbie was lonely, and she needed a boyfriend.

How Did The ‘Barbie’ Movie Craft Ken’s Character?

Ryan Gosling as Ken in the Barbie Movie
Credit: Warner Bros.

Related: Margot Robbie Punches ‘Barbie’ Co-Star After Being “Sexually Harassed”

Given that Ken was only created in a response to outrage, he has much less inherent character than Barbie, a doll whose many iterations are always created with intention.

The trick to creating Ken’s character was to use that to their advantage. Together, writing duo Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach wrote this lack of inner purpose into the Ken in their script – “My job is just beach,” he explains in the film.

Barbie was invented first. Ken was invented after Barbie, to burnish Barbie’s position in our eyes and in the world. That kind of creation myth is the opposite of the creation myth in Genesis.

For those not in the know, Gerwig is referring to the creation myth shared by Jewish and Christian religions, in which God sees that Adam is lonely on Earth, takes out one of his ribs, and creates Eve to be his wife. (In the case of Ken, it was plastic, but it’s a remarkably similar concept.)

barbie trailer ryan gosling and margot robbie
Credit: Warner Bros.

Related: Margot Robbie Never Wanted To Play Barbie – She Just Wanted To Make ‘Barbie’

In the case of the Barbie movie, though, nobody was handing Ryan Gosling any ribs – but Margot Robbie did gift him with something else to help him understand his character. He told Vogue:

She left a pink present with a pink bow, from Barbie to Ken, every day while we were filming. They were all beach-related. Like puka shells, or a sign that says ‘Pray for surf.’ Because Ken’s job is just beach. I’ve never quite figured out what that means. But I felt like she was trying to help Ken understand, through these gifts that she was giving.

It seems that the entirety of BarbieLand, by extension, is not unlike Eden – a perfect paradise where everything is good all the time. So when Barbie starts “malfunctioning” – like waking up one morning to find her heels on the ground – she sets out on some sort of journey, and ends up in the Real World, with Ken tagging along.

We’re not sure there will be any forbidden fruit involved, but the movie is likely to see them both finding themselves – and perhaps like Disney’s Enchanted, the Real World will introduce them to a version of themselves they didn’t realize they were missing, and learn to be truly human.

We’ll see how that theory pans out soon enough – Barbie will hit theaters on July 21.

What do you think the Barbie movie will be about? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments.

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