Issa Rae Says Having to Dance in 'Barbie' Movie Was the 'Worst Day of My Life'

The Emmy nominee, who played President Barbie in the hit film, breaks down her experience dancing to Dua Lipa's GRAMMY-nominated song.

Issa Rae may have struck a pose while dancing to the GRAMMY-nominated hit "Dance the Night," but it was far from her favorite moment of filming Barbie.

Talking with The Hollywood Reporter alongside Rap Sh!t stars Aida Osman and KaMillion, the Emmy nominee confesses that having to learn the group number accompanied by Dua Lipa's song in the film was "the worst day of my life." 

"Doing the Dua Lipa song and dancing to it was my worst nightmare. It was the worst day of my life," Rae declares. "It was the best day of my life being on that set. It was exciting, and then, literally the first day, I had to learn the choreography to shoot the [following] day."

Rae, who played President Barbie in the Greta Gerwig-directed flick, describes the actual day of filming as "terrible."

She adds, "We also didn't have the lyrics to the song. Greta was like, 'Oh, it's going to be a Dua Lipa song.' But all we had was the instrumental, so I was just like, 'What the f**k is this? What am I dancing to?'"

Still, Rae is the first to wax poetic about how important a role music can play when it comes to movies and TV shows. The Insecure and Rap Sh!t creator tells the outlet, "Music elevates the storytelling of everything. I write to music, [and] you can have a scene that plays out great, but music will add that little bit of tension, or that spark, or that feeling. It will cement a scene in your brain. There are so many songs that I associate with specific scenes that have also, in turn, affected my life and my memories. And it just adds an extra feeling to that song. So, they really work hand-in-hand beautifully." 

And it wasn't all terrible dancing with the Barbie crew. Rae told ET at the Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse premiere last year that she had a blast while hanging with her co-stars after filming.

"We went out together at a club night, we had a couple of other crazy nights, so, she was all about facilitating bonding time," Rae said of the film's director, who hosted Barbie and un-Barbie events for the star-studded cast, which includes the likes of Margot RobbieRyan Gosling, Simu Liu and more. "I'm grateful for it. We were better for it. We did a lot of un-Barbie-like activities off-set."

The summer blockbuster, which brought in over $100 million, has dominated this awards season, scoring multiple nominations across the board. 

Most recently, during this year's Critics Choice Awards, the film was awarded Best Comedy and saw Gerwig and Robbie make an unconventional acceptance speech. 

After coming back from a commercial break, host Chelsea Handler explained that, for whatever reason, that particular category was among the handful that were announced but not given actual airtime. "I'm gonna go rogue, because I feel Greta and Margot deserve the opportunity to make an acceptance speech," Handler said, surprising both celebs. "So ladies, would you mind coming up and accepting the award for Best Comedy?"

The delightfully flummoxed pair took to the stage, and couldn't stop laughing as they delivered their impromptu speeches.

"Thank you, Chelsea. We love you so much! You know when everyone is like, 'Oh, this is so unexpected.' This is actually unexpected. This was not a part of the show," Robbie quipped. "But we are very grateful nonetheless, and I'd like Greta Gerwig to talk."

"Thank you for letting this happen. We were just very excited in our chairs, and its very nice to be up here," Gerwig added with a laugh. "Thank you to everyone that made this movie. I laughed so hard every day, I ruined almost every take, and it's because of our beautiful cast."

She also thanked Mattel for "for letting us take their beloved icon and make something so unhinged," and praised her husband and co-writer Noah Baumbach. "Thank you to Noah Baumbach because we just wanted to make each other laugh, and we made the world laugh, too."

Barbie was up for a record-setting 18 nominations at Sunday's show and wound up walking away with Best Comedy, Best Original Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Hair and Makeup, Best Comedy and Best Song.