Greta Gerwig: Mom banned sexist Barbie dolls…so I made $1.4bn hit movie!

Speaking to Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs today, the 40-year-old says issues surrounding the controversial toy’s depiction of women led to the harsh block.

Despite this, she co-wrote and directed the Hollywood blockbuster, alongside producer and actor Margot Robbie.

And she became the first solo woman director to release a film that made more than $1billion.

Greta tells host Lauren Laverne: “My mom wasn’t so into Barbie – certain moms would be like, ‘I don’t know if this is a good example of womanhood’, you know, the body type and everything… she was less excited about that.”

But she found a clever way to get around the ban.

“I got hand-me-downs from the girls where I grew up. I got a lot of pre-loved dolls,” Greta said.

“Although my mom, I will give her credit, she did give me a proper doll for Christmas in a box. She relented. And then I destroyed her [the doll].”

Greta’s hit movie, which also stars Ryan Gosling as Ken, sparked the Barbenheimer war when it was released on the same day as Oppenheimer, the man who designed the atomic bomb.

She said of the phenomenon: “It was such an extraordinary moment. There was this overwhelming sense of everyone is going to the movies again.”

Greta works with husband and fellow director Noah Baumbach, who co-wrote the Barbie movie, and jokingly describes his work focus as “annoying”.

She also talks of how female directors Rebecca Miller and Miranda July gave her shoes that didn’t fit them early in her career, which she saw it as a “sign”.

“I was like, this is too crazy. If you wrote this no one would believe it. It’s too poetic, these directors giving me their shoes.

“I’m pretty superstitious, and pretty mystical. I think that was like, ‘If you don’t do it now, don’t say there weren’t signs, you were told. If you don’t do it [become a director] you’re denying what’s put in front of you.”

● Desert Island Discs, Radio 4, today, 11.15am

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