Juno Screenwriter On Why Her Attempted Barbie Movie Was A Failure

Before Cody was brought on to offer a clear direction to this particular Barbie movie, the project suffered from a lack of clear vision as multiple screenplays for the central idea existed, with little progress made. Cody’s previous body of work speaks for itself — she had established herself as a fresh, intriguing voice as a writer with feminist leanings and a good understanding of gender politics in relation to societal perception. However, Cody gave up on the project without turning in a single draft, telling Screen Crush in 2018 (via GQ):

“I failed so hard at that project. […] I was literally incapable of turning in a Barbie draft. God knows I tried.”

Speaking to GQ recently, Cody explained the reasons why she thinks the project failed, stating that “the culture [at the time] had not embraced the femme or the bimbo as valid feminist archetypes yet.” Cody also cited the recent reinvigoration of the Barbiecore subculture on sites like TikTok, saying the “celebra[tion] of the feminine” with regards to Barbie was not as commonplace in 2014 as it is right now, making attempts to launch a movie about the iconic doll “a tall order.”

There was also some confusion regarding the actual creative direction of the film, with the central concept being the expulsion of Barbie from Barbieland for not meeting the expected ideals of perfection. Cody also told GQ that there “was a lot of pressure to not write the dramatic equivalent of ‘math is hard,'” as the aim was to offer a take that diverged from the expected norm. While “unconventionality” was the keyword Cody wished to infuse into the project, these competent ideas failed to translate well into a workable script at the time.

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