Don’t Forget — Amy Schumer Was Supposed to Be Barbie in ‘Barbie’
When Greta Gerwig’s Barbie releases in July, the premiere will finally mark the end of almost a decade of development hell for the doll movie about clothes, cars and Kens. After Sony Pictures first acquired the rights to the live-action feature film adaptation of the iconic toy brand in 2014, they unintentionally built a tiny colorful carousel of writers, directors and stars who would join the project for weeks, months or even years before unceremoniously dropping out of the plastic catastrophe.
Just one year before Warner Brothers acquired the project in 2018 and righted the ship, Sony nearly, finally moved forward with Schumer writing and starring in the film. However, the studio once again fumbled the sold-separately handbag by refusing to see eye-to-eye with their creative lead, as well as by sending her a stylish and unintentionally insulting gift that showed Schumer exactly what Sony executives thought about women. As memes about the Robbie-led film continue to flood every social media, just remember that Schumer was one at the front of the Barbie-queue.
Back in 2017, Schumer lasted just a few short months on the Barbie project before it became clear to her that Sony’s vision for the film was irreconcilable with her own. Schumer and her sister/writing partner Kim Caramele were hired to salvage the script that had been bouncing from writer to writer since Sony first began development on the project, but Schumer quickly realized how little Sony was interested in receiving notes.
“They definitely didn’t want to do it the way I wanted to do it, the only way I was interested in doing it,” Schumer told The Hollywood Reporter last year. Supposedly, Sony wanted Barbie to be about a Barbie who was kicked out of Barbieland for “not being perfect enough,” while Schumer was focused on writing a story that wasn’t horrendously trite. Schumer saw her Barbie character as an inventor, framing the film around the character’s talents and passions rather than just her appearance. Sony then suggested that Barbie's invention would be — seriously — a high heel made of Jello.
To celebrate the ingenuity of their half-idea, Sony sent Schumer a pair of absurdly priced heels from Manolo Blahnik, a luxury brand that sells shoes for up to $5,000 per pair. However, this expensive gesture of intended goodwill indicated to Schumer everything that was wrong with the partnership; “The idea that that’s just what every woman must want, right there, I should have gone, ‘You’ve got the wrong gal,’” Schumer later said of the gift. Shortly thereafter, Sony’s Barbie girl was gone.
As hype continues to build for Gerwig and Robbie’s Barbie movie, it’s pretty clear from Schumer’s experience that Sony never should have tried to do a Barbie movie and should have just bought the rights for Trainwreck 2.