Greta Gerwig said she had to fight to keep the “I’m Just Ken” dance scene in the “Barbie” movie.
Gerwig explained at BFI London Film Festival that the scene featuring Ryan Gosling and Simu Liu led to discussion over whether it was needed in the film, according to Variety.
“It just said in the script, ‘And then it becomes a dream ballet and they work it out through dance,’” Gerwig told “Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong on Sunday.
“There was a big meeting that was like, ‘Do you need this?’ And I was like, ‘Everything in me needs this.’ They were like, ‘What do you even mean? What is a dream ballet?’ And I was like, ‘A dream ballet? Where do I begin!’”
Gerwig pointed to the iconic 1952 musical film “Singin’ in the Rain,” which has “a dream ballet inside of a dream ballet,” as inspiration for the scene.
“I was like, if people could follow that in ‘Singing in the Rain,’ I think we’ll be fine. I think people will know what this is. So that was the big reference point,” she said.
“Even though everything felt right to me and was giving me so much joy in the way we were doing it, it was also like, ‘Oh no, this could be just terrible, but now I’m committed.’”
The scene features a song with an all-star group of artists, including lyrics and production from Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, Slash and Wolfgang Van Halen on guitars, and Josh Freese on drums.
Ronson told Vanity Fair this summer that Gosling understood that the song “had to walk this line of not being funny or parody.”
“But obviously, the song is also kind of ridiculous at times. So he was really amazing, and when he really did start hitting the big notes, I was like, this dude is a vocal powerhouse,” Ronson said.
“Barbie,” which has scored over $1.4 billion at the global box office, passed “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” as the highest-grossing film of 2023 and made a one-week run in IMAX theaters last month with a new post-credits scene.
David Heyman, an Oscar-nominated producer on the film, recently argued at Deadline’s Contenders London event that one of the reasons for the film’s success is its originality.
“There’s a real hunger for originality. Greta Gerwig is a singular artist, she pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in the most collaborative way,” Heyman said. “The film is fun, thematically rich and very moving. It was challenging, of course, but when we made it, there was a spirit of fun that permeated the production.”