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Will Ferrell confirms his role as "insensitive" Mattel CEO in Barbie

Will Ferrell calls Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig, "the ultimate example of high art and low art"

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Will Ferrell confirms role as Mattel CEO in Barbie
Will Ferrell
Photo: Emma McIntyre (Getty Images)

Barbie mania has died down (somewhat) now that we’re not getting new casting announcements or rollerblading photos every day. Nevertheless, Greta Gerwig’s next film is hotly anticipated, and the details are still being kept under lock and key. So any little morsel the cast and crew might let slip about the story could easily reignite Barbie fever all over again.

Take, for instance, this comment from Will Ferrell, one of the movie’s stars and a prominent feature in those leaked set pics. In a new Wall Street Journal Magazine interview, discussing his passion for visual art, Ferrell points to the upcoming film as an example of the intersection of “high art” and comedy.


“It is, in my humble opinion, the ultimate example of high art and low art. It’s a loving homage to the brand and, at the same time, couldn’t be more satirical—just an amazing comment on male patriarchy and women in society and why Barbie’s criticized and yet why every little girl still wants to play with Barbie,” he says. “Boy, when I read it, I was like, ‘This is fantastic.’”

Many cast members, including Ryan “Ken-ergy” Gosling and Simu Liu, have espoused the quality of the Barbie script (co-written by Gerwig and her partner Noah Baumbach). Producer and star Margot Robbie has teased a subversion of expectations with the film, promising it’s “the thing you didn’t know you wanted.”


Ferrell hints at just a bit more of what he’s doing in the Barbie world, confirming the rumor that went around after fans witnessed that rollerblading scene: “I get to play the CEO of Mattel and be that guy who’s just insensitive but weird and then, not to spoil anything, but….” Realizing that he may, in fact, be about to spoil something, the comedian quickly zips his lips. But he does add: “Anyway, that’s what excites me.” And it’s probably enough to get Barbie nation excited again, too.