It’s hard to imagine anyone else starring in the titular role of Barbie — but Margot Robbie initially thought Gal Gadot was the woman for the job.
“I adore Margot,” Gadot, 38, told Flaunt magazine in an interview published on Friday, August 11, about being Robbie’s top choice for the Barbie movie. “Margot is one of those women who you just want to be friends with. She brings so much to the table. I would love to do anything with Margot and was very touched [by her comments]. She warmed my heart with everything that she said about me. I’m super excited for them, and I’m so excited for Barbie.”
While Gadot couldn’t star as Barbiel herself, her personality ended up being the blueprint for both the casting directors and Robbie, 33, while searching for the perfect actors to play each doll in BarbieLand.
“Gal Gadot is Barbie energy,” Robbie told Vogue in May. “Because Gal Gadot is so impossibly beautiful, but you don’t hate her for being that beautiful because she’s so genuinely sincere, and she’s so enthusiastically kind, that it’s almost dorky. It’s like right before being a dork.”
While Robbie — who also serves as executive producer on the film — eventually went on to play the titular role, she didn’t even consider casting herself in the part until director Greta Gerwig joined the project. (Gerwig, 40, also cowrote the script with partner Noah Baumbach.)
“I said to her when she said, ‘Yes, I’ll come on board,’ ‘I don’t have to be in the movie,’” Robbie told Teen Vogue in July. “I’m very passionate about making this as a producer, but I don’t have to play Barbie or be in the movie in any capacity, I’m happy just to produce.”
Greta, however, already had a vision of Robbie donning the signature pink heels. “She was like, ‘No, I really wanna write this for you. And she wrote me an amazing part, so I’m very grateful,” Robbie recalled.
Along with Robbie, there was another role pre-cast in Gerwig’s mind — Ryan Gosling as Ken.
“She wrote him into the script as well. It always said in the script: ‘Barbie, Margot’ and ‘Ken, Ryan Gosling,’” Robbie explained, adding that the two women “wouldn’t take no for an answer” from Gosling, 42. “We’re like, ‘Ryan, you have to come do it. It’s on the page, you have to,’” she quipped.
Still, Robbie had one big ask before stepping on set.
“If [Mattel] hadn’t made that change to have a multiplicity of Barbies, I don’t think I would have wanted to attempt to make a Barbie film,” she said during an interview with TIME magazine in June. “I don’t think you should say, ‘This is the one version of what Barbie is, and that’s what women should aspire to be and look like and act like.’”
Robbie headlines the film as the “stereotypical” blonde, pink-clad Barbie most familiar to fans, but the cast includes various other stars playing different versions of Barbie. Issa Rae, for example, portrays President Barbie, while Alexandra Shipp is Writer Barbie and Hari Nef is Doctor Barbie.
“My worry was that it was going to feel too white feminist-y, but I think that it’s self-aware,” Rae, 38, told TIME of the film. “Barbie Land is perfect, right? It represents perfection. So if perfection is just a bunch of white Barbies, I don’t know that anybody can get on board with that.”