'Barbie': How Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie Brought Barbie Land to the Big Screen (Exclusive)

The Mattel epic is in theaters now!

Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig cannot wait to welcome moviegoers into the land of Barbie.

"I am just so excited," said Robbie, who stars as the titular doll, when the cast of the upcoming epic sat down with ET's Denny Directo. "We're at the point of sharing it with the world. There's always that thing when you make a movie and you love it and you care about it so much and you hope that people are gonna like it and even see it. Like even if they don't like it, I just hope they see it and get to form an opinion. But I feel like so many people are gonna see this movie that it's really exciting."

"It really is Greta's vision," she added. "I mean, the vision for Barbie obviously started 64 years ago, but Greta bringing it into the world today in the way that only Greta Gerwig can is what makes this movie worth making right now."

The project has been in development for years -- with names like Amy Schumer and Diablo Cody attached to various interpretations of the Barbie story -- but it wasn't until Robbie bought the rights from Mattel in 2018 that the ball got rolling on this version of the toy's tale, bringing together her producing prowess with Gerwig's vision.

"It really started with Margot. Margot invited me into the party," Gerwig noted. "Actually, right before we started shooting, we were in a golf cart driving around the studio. They made me a pink glittery golf cart, which was just the best thing ever. And I was driving her from a fitting to a dance rehearsal, and I had to thank her. Because I get so possessive of the movie because I'm the director, like, this is my film. But I said, 'You really invited me to this party' -- I wouldn't be here if she hadn't thought of me."

Gerwig initially signed on just to write the film, but admitted, "Once we had the script and I loved it, I couldn't bear to [let it go]. I had to direct it."

As for why the writer-director -- Oscar-nominated for Lady Bird and her adaptation of Little Women -- was drawn to make a movie about the beloved doll, Gerwig said she sees Barbie as a "complex icon."

"She's got a long history. She's gone through a lot of changes," she noted. "It's so joyful and so fun.... there's almost a delicious challenge to it. And I think that that must be part of it. But we just tried to always stay true to, like, is it interesting, funny, heartfelt, exciting, beautiful to us? And if it is, then we've just got to believe that that's going to be true for other people."

"[There were times when] I was like, 'Oh no, oh no, I don't know what we're making,'" she added with a laugh.. "But also it was a great feeling where half of you thinks like, this is amazing and my favorite thing I've ever done, and the other half of you thinks this might just be way too strange for everyone."

What's not strange is the sheer star power in the film, a cast full of Barbies and Kens, led by Robbie and Ryan Gosling as the central couple.

"They're two of the greatest actors, I would say," Gerwig praised. "I mean, the cast is just chock full of them. But I think that they have this ability to be outrageously funny from a place of truth. They're never making fun of it. They're never standing outside of it. They're always fully committed and not judging anything. And I think, in a way, the more seriously they took took it, the funnier it got."

The impressive performances -- Gerwig teases, "No spoilers, but like at the end, it's like as if Marlon Brando was playing Ken" -- are only bolstered by the Barbie movie's incredible practical sets. The production actually caused a shortage in pink paint as they built brightly colored versions of Barbie's Dream House and the surrounding town, the beach, Oval Office, the Supreme Court, and much more, in both life-sized and miniature versions.

"The whole thing was just, oh my god," Gerwig raved. "I mean, I feel a little bit tired now thinking about it, and I didn't physically [build it]."

"It was really a dream come true," she added. "When we were making the movie, it was so fun and so joyful... the talent was just extraordinary every day and every actor, every costume, every prop, everything was so just extraordinary."

Barbie's star-studded cast also includes Kate McKinnon, America Ferrera, Simu Liu, Issa Rae, Michael Cera, Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa, Emerald Fennell, Alexandra Shipp, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Hari Nef, Ariana Greenblatt, Sharon Rooney, Scott Evans, Rhea Pearlman, Will Ferrell, and more.

Barbie is in theaters now.

This interview was conducted prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike, which began on July 13, 2023.