After Amy Schumer exited the Barbie movie in 2017 due to creative differences, the upcoming movie based on the famous toyline moved from Sony Pictures to Warner Bros. Pictures a year later. When summer 2019 rolled around, The Suicide Squad’s Margot Robbie was confirmed to be the new cinematic Barbie, and over the last several months, we’ve been learning who will be joining her in the main cast. The latest addition to the lineup is Will Ferrell, and his reported role sounds like it’s a perfect fit for him.
Officially speaking, it hasn’t been announced who Will Ferrell is playing in Barbie, only that he’s closed a deal. That said, THR has heard from a source that there is a “meta aspect” to the Barbie movie, and that Ferrell will be playing the CEO of a toy company “that may or may not be Mattel,” the company that owns the Barbie toyline in real life.
Assuming this information is accurate, Will Ferrell’s Barbie role sounds similar to his dual roles in 2014’s The LEGO Movie. That movie also had plenty of its own meta commentary, and Ferrell both voiced the nefarious Lord Business and played “The Man Upstairs,” the father of Finn, the boy who was acting out this elaborate scenario with these LEGO figurines and sets. Even though specific plot details aren’t among the things we know about Barbie yet, the fact that Ferrell may be playing the CEO of a massive toy company in a “meta” story indicates that this movie will be poking some, if not a lot of fun at the Barbie property as a whole.
Along with Margot Robbie bringing Barbie to life (a role that Anne Hathaway had been circling after Amy Schumer’s departure), the only other officially confirmed role in the movie is Barbie’s male counterpart, Ken, who will be played by Ryan Gosling. However, plenty of other actors have been announced for Barbie. Back in February, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Simu Lu came aboard, and his other co-stars include America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Ariana Greenblatt, Alexandra Shipp and Emma Mackey. Little Women’s Great Gerwing is directing Barbie, as well as co-writing the script with her partner Noah Baumbach.
Will Ferrell’s last movie was 2020’s Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, but he has been seen more recently starring in the miniseries The Shrink Next Door. While Barbie is expected to drop sometime in 2023, it won’t be the next movie we see Ferrell in. That honor belongs to Spirited, Apple TV+’s modern musical re-imagining of A Christmas Carol that stars Ferrell as The Ghost of Christmas present and Ryan Reynolds as Ebenezer Scrooge. Ferrell also has the live-action animated comedy Strays, which co-stars Jamie Foxx and Will Forte, slated for June 9, 2023, so I imagine that Barbie will end up being slotted sometime in the latter half of that year.
Principal photography is now underway on Barbie, and if any other major castings for the project are announced, we’ll pass them along. If you’re keen on seeing new Will Ferrell material now, stream The Shrink Next Door with an Apple TV+ subscription.