Actress Hari Neff, who plays one of the Barbies, said of Gerwig’s screenplay (co-written with Noah Baumbach): “I knew it wasn’t going to shy away from the parts of Barbie that are more interesting but potentially a little more tense. . […] The contemporary history of feminism and body positivity – there are questions about how Barbie can fit into all of this.” It seems like those kind of comments were heard by Robbie Brenner, the head of Mattel Films , and he linked them to Richard Dickson, the COO of Mattel Dickson clearly felt apprehensive and, according to the Time article, took a special flight to London where “Barbie” was filmed specifically so that he could “argue” with the filmmakers about his inclusion.Dickson had read the script, and there was one scene that, in the COO’s mind, was off-mark.
There are no passages from the “Barbie” script quoted in the Time article, but Gerwig and Robbie recall explaining the scene in question to Dickson. It seems like it came down to a matter of inflection and presentation. Gerwig and Robbie played the scene for Dickson, and he finally got it. “When you look on the page, the nuance isn’t there, the delivery isn’t there,” Robbie said. Their performance was clearly good enough for Dickson, as he left satisfied and the scene was left in the film.