While “Barbie” producer-star Margot Robbie has spoken before about how part of her pitch to Warner Bros. foretelling how the film would make a billion dollars included comparing it to Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park,” writer-director Greta Gerwig has only now revealed to Todd Field — in the exclusive video above — that the fellow critically-acclaimed blockbuster inspired the way she and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto actually shot “Barbie.”
“We decided we wanted the aspect ratio to be 2:1, because that’s the aspect ratio that [Steven] Spielberg shot ‘Jurassic Park’ in and dinosaurs are quite vertical,” said Gerwig to the fellow detail-oriented, Oscar-nominated “TÁR” director, who asked about the way she approached “Barbie” differently from her previously films from a craft standpoint. “It just also amused me to think the best way to shoot dolls and dinosaurs is 2:1.”
The moment is reflective of much of the conversation with Field, which balances talk of the technical aspects of directing “Barbie” with the fun that was had on the fluorescent fuchsia set that led to a worldwide paint shortage. For example, Gerwig notes how helpful it was that Robbie happened to be best friends with one of the camera crew members tasked with shooting a lot of the film’s major setpieces.
“They had a secret language, so we could do crazy dolly shots because he and she would know when they were moving and stopping,” said the filmmaker. “We were doing the chase through Mattel and all these things, and they’d nod at each other, and then they could just run together. And these were things that ordinarily you would do a different way if the actor and the dolly grip didn’t have this relationship, but they were just really so in sync.”
Having seen the film three times now, and considering it a “a really, really incredible accomplishment,” Field said he “get[s] something more from it every time I watch it,” and joked to Gerwig, “You must have incredible outtakes on this film.”
Gerwig shared that, if anyone was caught breaking, it was most likely her, as she was in awe of the group of performers she had assembled with the help of casting directors Lucy Bevan and Allison Jones (the latter of whom worked on her debut feature “Lady Bird” as well). “Our lovely sound mixer Nina was like, ‘If you could just not do that in the middle of the thing,’ but it was impossible,” said the director. “They were all just outrageously creative. … They don’t just show up and act. They’re also working with Jacqueline [Durran] with the costumes, and it’s like they got to become kids again and play again.”
Watch the full video of Todd Field in conversation with “Barbie” filmmaker Greta Gerwig, an IndieWire exclusive, above.