Following Barbie‘s massive debut weekend, Greta Gerwig is opening up about the film’s success, criticism and if she sees a sequel in her future.
During an interview with The New York Times, published online Tuesday, when asked if she sees the Margot Robbie-led film as the start of a franchise or a complete story, the director responded, “At this moment, it’s all I’ve got.”
“I feel like that at the end of every movie, like I’ll never have another idea and everything I’ve ever wanted to do, I did,” she explained. “I wouldn’t want to squash anybody else’s dream, but for me, at this moment, I’m at totally zero.”
Gerwig’s comments come after a record-breaking debut weekend for the movie and director. Not only did Barbie score one of the top openings since the pandemic, with $162 million at the North American box office, but Gerwig also broke the opening weekend record for a female director.
The filmmaker was “at a loss for words” after seeing what a massive success the movie was. “It’s been amazing to walk around and see people in pink,” she added. “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine something like this.”
At times, it’s even been difficult for her to grasp the response. “I think part of the reason I was so fixated on volume levels [in theaters] was because it was a thing I could concentrate on,” she said. “But mostly, it’s been running into people on the street who are excited and happy and exuberant, because so much of this movie was an attempt to create something that people would want to experience together. So, it’s the little things.”
Many viewers have taken to social media after watching the film to praise it and its inclusion of deeper issues such as sexism, female empowerment and self-determination. But some conservative pundits have gone on to bash the movie as being “woke” as well as reportedly burning their Barbies.
Gerwig noted that she absolutely did not anticipate that type of reaction. “Certainly, there’s a lot of passion,” she said in response to the criticism. “My hope for the movie is that it’s an invitation for everybody to be part of the party and let go of the things that aren’t necessarily serving us as either women or men. I hope that in all of that passion, if they see it or engage with it, it can give them some of the relief that it gave other people.”
The filmmaker also addressed some of the disagreements the film’s creative team had with Mattel throughout filming. It was previously reported that Richard Dickson, COO and president of Mattel, went to the London set at one point and argued with Gerwig and Robbie over a scene “he felt was off-brand,” according to Time magazine.
Gerwig said the whole interaction sounded more dramatic than it actually was. “They were coming anyway, so it wasn’t like, ‘Stop everything, we all have to go to London!’” she explained.
But in regard to the scene in question, where a teenage human calls Barbie dolls sexist and fascist, the director said, “My awareness of Barbie as a thing in the world completely corresponded with me knowing the arguments against Barbie. I didn’t think there was any way to do this without giving that real estate and having well-articulated, correct arguments from a really smart character given to Barbie against Barbie.”
Although she never got a full seal of approval from Mattel, she explained, she got them to accept it enough to proceed. “I had faith once it was in there, and they saw it that they would embrace it, not fight it,” the filmmaker said.
As Gerwig continues to relish in Barbie‘s triumph, she quipped that her 4-year-old son feels slightly different about all the Barbiemania.
“He made a cake for me that was pink and had a ‘B’ on it, and he said, ‘This is how we say goodbye to Barbie,’” Gerwig told The Times with a laugh. “I thought, ‘Oh, you’re done.’”
Barbie is currently playing in theaters.