After the triumph of Greta Gerwig’s billion-dollar Barbie movie, Mattel recently revealed that its annual “Career of the Year” Barbie collection would showcase Women in Film. Four dolls were announced — studio executive, director, cinematographer and movie star — leading some on social media site X and various other cursed corners of the Internet to point out the essential entertainment jobs that were overlooked.
“Where is Screenwriter Barbie?” posted Taffy Brodesser-Akner, the Emmy nominated writer behind Fleishman Is in Trouble. “Does Mattel not know how to make sweatpants? Does Mattel not know how to get avocado toast on a t-shirt and just kind of leave it there?”
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The Wire creator David Simon wrote: “No key set PA Barbie who has to go into Movie Star Barbie’s trailer and tell the delicate flower to get the fuck down to set because 120 other pissed-off Barbie’s are waiting for her. That film taught Mattel nothing.”
And where the heck is the Academy Barbie to overlook the contributions of the Barbies behind Barbie?!
While it may be too late, The Hollywood Reporter has pitches for Mattel for new Women in Film Barbies, complete with more realistic accessories and designs that THR commissioned from The Sporting Press.
Assistant Barbie comes with a can-do attitude but a Gen Z insistence on work-life balance that makes her bosses feel deeply uncomfortable and very old. But there are still all the trappings of the classic Assistant Dream Office™ experience: Multiple phones, crying in the bathroom, parents and guardians that question post-grad choices. And when things get desperate, when the people at the top aren’t retiring, when morale is low but the pay is even lower, when she reads about yet another re-org at her company in the trades, she just reminds herself: There’s always law school!
VFX Barbie has been pulling 80-hour work weeks so the studios can still make their release calendars after Hollywood’s dual strikes. Speaking of unions, she would love get in on the action, if only her firm would stay in business for long enough to unionize. In the meantime, her directors will ignore her very existence. Unless, of course, critics point out that the VFX in their films was not well done, in which case they will throw her work under the bus.
Indie Producer Barbie
Indie Producer Barbie is keeping it together thanks to a well-honed combination of Xanax, delusion and good insoles. She comes complete with an auteur director, a disgruntled line producer and a network TV star who wants an awards play but only can give them six shoot days. Good thing that the years of hard work scrapping together financing and the mountains of personal debt hinge on social media posts from people who may or may not be at the Sundance screening.
Below the Line Barbie
Below-the-line Barbie comes with accessories (and unions) for 40 different positions. She also comes with months of back-to-back productions that she feels she can never say no to, so the playtime never ends! She is the lifeblood of Hollywood and they can’t do anything without her. When she is sick, producers even have her find her own replacement for the day. She can really do it all!
In a Malibu dream house somewhere between Topanga Canyon and the Uncanny Valley, lives AI Barbie, lying in wait for just the right contractual loophole. Does she kinda look like Margot Robbie? Does she kinda look like Jennifer Lawrence? Does she kinda look like a waking nightmare? Yes! And she has almost the right number of fingers, too. After bringing the industry to its knees for six months, she was put back into her box. But as that one studio exec told her “It’s only a soft no.” There’s no rush because she is always tech avail!
This story first appeared in the Jan. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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