Saoirse Ronan stunned audiences at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend when she disclosed details about a bizarre cameo she was originally set to have in Greta Gerwig’s highly-anticipated “Barbie” film. While the cameo ultimately didn’t make it into the final film, Ronan’s story offers intriguing clues into Gerwig’s creative process and the weird, meta universe she has crafted for the Mattel doll.
Ronan Was Slated to Play an Actress Playing “Irish Barbie”
In an interview at Sundance promoting her new film “The Outrun,” Ronan said she was originally cast in a small role as an actress playing a character named “Irish Barbie” in the film-within-the-film that stars Margot Robbie’s Barbie.
“I was actually going to make a small cameo as an actress playing ‘Irish Barbie’ but scheduling conflicts prevented me from doing it,” Ronan explained. “It was very early on, and I think they were still figuring out visuals and that kind of thing.”
The Irish actress said she wasn’t given much detail about the role at the time, but assumed it would have involved an Irish twist on the iconic blonde doll.
“I imagine Irish Barbie enjoys a pint of Guinness and gets her denim outfits from Penneys,” Ronan joked. “And she’s definitely a fan of Hozier.”
The Cameo Would Have Added Another Meta Layer to Film
While details about the plot for Gerwig’s “Barbie” film have been kept tightly under wraps, most describe it as a meta film-within-a-film that plays with Barbie’s cultural identity. Margot Robbie stars as a doll who is kicked out of Barbieland for not conforming and ends up in the real world.
Ronan’s cameo would have added another trippy meta layer, with the Oscar-nominated actress playing a fictional actress portraying an Irish spin on the Mattel icon.
“It was meant to serve as this funhouse mirror world, where you have an actor playing a doll version of themselves,” Ronan explained.
The layers of artificial identity would have fit the theme of a plastic doll striving to find her place in the real world. But likely proved too convoluted even for Gerwig’s wildcard vision.
Ronan Has High Praise for Film’s Script and Gerwig’s Offbeat Vision
While Ronan’s wacky cameo idea didn’t make it off the cutting room floor, the 28-year-old actress had nothing but praise for Gerwig’s inventive script. Despite not seeing a final cut of the film yet, she lauded Gerwig for her one-of-a-kind comedic voice and offbeat approach to the material.
“Honestly, I was blown away by the script,” Ronan said. “It has such a great message but doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s incredibly funny and quirky. Very Greta.”
Gerwig co-wrote the script with her partner Noah Baumbach, with both tackling their first major studio film. Given the pair’s track record of making heartfelt and amusing films about the highs and lows of womanhood — often starring Ronan herself — the actress trusts Gerwig’s wryly funny sensibility is well-suited to Barbie’s journey of self-actualization.
“I just know she would have approached Barbie in the most unexpected way,” Ronan added. “And subverted the image people have of who Barbie is, while also celebrating her.”
The film also reunites Gerwig with her “Lady Bird” star Saoirse Ronan, with many fans hoping her revealed Irish Barbie cameo means she will appear in the film in some capacity. But the busy actress confirmed the cameo was her only involvement.
“As much as I would have loved to be involved in the film, I was just too busy,” Ronan stated. “But I can’t wait to see the wonderfully weird vision Greta has brought to life. I’m sure it will spark some really interesting conversations.”
What Ronan’s Comments Reveal About Film’s Plot and Themes
Though Ronan didn’t see the final cut of “Barbie,” her comments offer some intriguing clues for fans eagerly awaiting details about the offbeat take on the iconic doll.
In particular, Ronan’s description of the script having a “great message” but “not taking itself too seriously” indicates that while Gerwig tackles important gender themes, she does so with her signature off-kilter humor. Gerwig is likely exploring relevant conversations around female empowerment, identity politics and conformity through this trippy meta filter of a doll’s existential adventures.
The revealed “Irish Barbie” cameo also points to funhouse mirror versions of Barbie grounded in various cultural identities. If Gerwig dreamed up an Irish spin on the doll played by an iconic Irish actress, she is likely exploring Barbie’s cultural symbolism and meaning through experimental iterations of the doll that diversity her universe.
While some fans have expressed hesitation about Gerwig putting an indie spin on a mainstream icon, Ronan’s whole-hearted endorsement indicates “Barbie” will be an imaginative celebration of Barbie’s global cultural impact while redefining her limited image in popular culture.
‘Barbie’ Film Wrapped Production Last Year, No Footage Has Been Released
Warner Bros’ live-action “Barbie” film wrapped production in July 2022 at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, England. The film stars Margot Robbie in the title role along with Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrell, Simu Liu, Kate McKinnon, America Ferrera and more.
The studio and filmmakers have kept all imagery and test footage tightly under wraps. Plot details remain vague as well, beyond exploring a subversive meta storyline poking at Barbie’s cultural identity.
With a rumored budget of over $100 million, “Barbie” is Gerwig’s biggest film production yet. After stunning with more intimate fare like “Lady Bird” and “Little Women,” fans are eager to see her inventive vision played out on a larger canvas.
‘Barbie’ Slated for July 2023 Release, Will Be Major Test for Gerwig
“Barbie” is slated to hit theaters on July 21, 2023, with fans counting down the days to see whether Gerwig successfully pulls off this riskily meta take on an iconic global brand.
The film will pose a major test for Gerwig as a filmmaker, proving if her quirky, introspective sensibilities can be translated to a larger commercial film backed by a major studio. Given she had complete creative control over the script and vision for this passion project, all eyes are on whether Gerwig can deliver a critical and commercial smash that puts her own twist on an iconic part of popular culture.
For Ronan, Gerwig’s unique comedic voice and celebration of multidimensional womanhood makes her the perfect filmmaker to helm this film.
“If anyone is going to redefine Barbie’s image but also stay true to who she is, it’s Greta,” Ronan remarked. “She always presents women as wonderfully complex, flawed beings. I’m sure Barbie gets that same fully realized treatment, even if she is made of plastic.”
Mixed Early Buzz, But Fans Excited for Gerwig’s Wild Ride
In the wake of Ronan’s comments, early buzz on social media has been mixed, with some fans nervous about an offbeat Barbie film and others excited to see Gerwig’s irreverent take.
“This sounds crazy and I’m here for it,” one Twitter user wrote about Ronan’s revealed cameo, summing up sentiments from Gerwig devotees.
“If anyone can pull off ‘weird Barbie movie’ it’s Greta Gerwig,” echoed prominent entertainment journalist Rebecca Rubin.
But more mainstream pop culture fans expressed hesitancy, unused to Gerwig’s idiosyncratic humor.
“I’m having trouble picturing how Gerwig’s indie style translates into Barbie,” one commenter wrote on Reddit. “This could either be a disaster or genius.”
While reactions are polarized, most agree Gerwig’s “Barbie” film will spark cultural conversation regardless. And as an admirer of Gerwig’s singular filmmaking voice, Ronan has full confidence her take on Barbie will bring something wholly original.
As the actress perfectly encapsulated: “It has Greta written all over it.”
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