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How Margot Robbie Convinced Mattel to Keep Barbie’s ‘Beach Off’ Joke

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This Barbie’s job is movie producer.

Margot Robbie, one of the Barbie movie’s executive producers, spoke at a panel with 10 other nominees for Outstanding Producer of a Motion Picture on Saturday, February 24, just a day ahead of the 2024 Producers Guild of America Awards, per Deadline. While there, she explained that, as a producer, she would often have to negotiate with Mattel, the toy company behind the iconic Barbie doll, about which jokes should stay in the Barbie movie despite the risk of double entendre.

According to Robbie, 33, Mattel and Warner Bros. took issue with several pieces of director Greta Gerwig’s script (co-written by Noah Baumbach), including the scene where the Kens have a “beach off.” While the studio was concerned about the sexual connotations surrounding the phrase “beach off,” Robbie insisted that the Kens were not “beating off,” as it might sound.

“There’d be other things like, ‘When they say beach off, when they beach each other off, what does that mean?’” Robbie recalled. “We’d say, ‘What do you think that means? They like the beach, I don’t know. It could just be one of those funny things.’ Or it could be something like ending the movie on the gynecologist line. Days before we picture-locked, that was still a fight.”

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Robbie, who portrays Stereotypical Barbie in the movie, added that Mattel didn’t approve of the use of “stereotypical” in her Barbie’s name until she explained how it was crucial to the character’s storyline. “OK, I understand why you don’t like the word Stereotypical Barbie,” Robbie said. “But if she doesn’t call herself Stereotypical, what journey does she go on by the end of the film?”

Gerwig, 40, and Baumbach, 54, both received an Oscar nomination for Best Adaptation Screenplay for the Barbie script. However, Gerwig and Robbie were notably absent from the nominees for Best Director and Best Leading Actress categories.

“There’s no way to feel sad when you know you’re this blessed,” Robbie said during a January 30 SAG-AFTRA screening of Barbie after the Oscar nominations were announced. “Obviously, I think Greta should be nominated as a director, because what she did is a once-in-a-career, once-in-a-lifetime thing, what she pulled off, it really is. But it’s been an incredible year for all the films.”

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When Oscars season rolls around, many stars are wishing to see their name on the nominations list — but it always doesn’t pan out. Even before her Barbie snub, Margot Robbie was overlooked for her previous projects. Robbie had her breakout role in Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street in 2013, which she starred […]

Despite the snubs, Barbie was nominated for eight Academy Awards overall, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Ryan Gosling and Best Supporting Actress for America Ferrera.

“I just suspect it’s bigger than us. It’s bigger than this movie, it’s bigger than our industry,” Robbie said of Barbie. “We set out to do something that would shift culture, affect culture, just make some sort of impact and it’s already done that, and [in] some ways, more than we ever dreamed it would. And that is truly the biggest reward that could come out of all of this.”

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