Sure, Barbie gobbled up all the cash when it was released, but getting such a popular and unique film made wasn’t always easy. Director/cowriter Greta Gerwig often had to stand her ground, sometimes with the help of star Margot Robbie. Indeed one of the most popular sequences required her putting up a fight. That bit was, of course, the now-beloved “I’m Just Ken” musical number.
“It just said in the script, ‘And then it becomes a dream ballet and they work it out through dance,’” Gerwig told the crowd at the BFI London Film Festival this weekend, during a conversation with Succession creator Jesse Armstrong, per Variety. “There was a big meeting that was like, ‘Do you need this?’ And I was like, ‘Everything in me needs this.’ They were like, ‘What do you even mean? What is a dream ballet?’ And I was like, ‘A dream ballet? Where do I begin!’”
To make her point, Gerwig wound up namechecking one of the most popular classic movie musicals: Singin’ in the Rain, which not only contains scores of musical numbers, but also the lengthy “Broadway Melody” sequence that delves into our hero’s imagination.
“I was like, if people can follow that in Singin’ in the Rain, I think we’ll be fine. I think people will know what this is. So that was the big reference point,” Gerwig explained. “Even though everything felt right to me and was giving me so much joy in the way we were doing it, it was also like, ‘Oh no, this could be just terrible, but now I’m committed.’”
Sticking by her guns paid off, as Barbie is still gobbling up cash in its 12th weekend at the North American box office. Hell, the song in question has proven a breakout hit from the star-studded soundtrack. The lesson? Hollywood should simply trust its most eccentric talent when they say they’re going to force Ryan Gosling to do a dream ballet.