Big celebrity cover stories typically follow a similar formula: Describe the activity you’re doing with said celebrity; talk about the day/week/year they’re having; describe their quirks, childhood, the junk food they eat to prove they don’t starve themselves; get their famous friends to say some nice things; then top off with a cute little send-off that makes them seem relatable (examples: She’s off to get a drink, to buy cheap socks, to grocery shop for her family).
Rarely does a profile drop a detail so infuriating that, if you had one genie-granted wish, you’d wish to have never read it. Enter Vogue’s interview with Margot Robbie which, of course, is all about Barbie. The profile writer, Abby Aguirre, who also spoke with Ryan Gosling, Greta Gerwig, and Noah Baumbach, actually reveals a generous amount about the script and the process it took to get the film—which began with a “super abstract” poem by Gerwig—made. But I argue Aguirre was too generous, in fact, because she included a detail that never should have made its way to print on account of it being the only thing I’ll be thinking about for the rest of my life.
“A certain joke on page one sent their jaws to the floor,” the Aguirre writes, referring to a specific joke in the very first Barbie script, written by Gerwig and Baumach. “We just looked at each other, pure panic on our faces. We were like, ‘Holy fucking shit,’” Robbie said. “I think the first thing I said to Tom [Ackerley, her co-producer] was, ‘This is so genius. It is such a shame that we’re never going to be able to make this movie.’”
In the next paragraph, it’s made clear that, obviously, the movie got made and that it’s “very much the one Gerwig and Baumbach wrote.” Phew. Except for the damn joke: “Alas, that joke on page one is gone.”
What in the journalism malpractice are we meant to fucking do with that?! Especially when, as far as celebrity-interviews-tied-to-summer-blockbusters go, this profile is admittedly pretty delightful. It’s chock full of enjoyable anecdotes about the movie, like the fact that Gerwig held “movie church” for the cast every Sunday morning where she played reference films like The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Or that Robbie left Gosling “a pink present with a pink bow, from Barbie to Ken, every day while we were filming.” Or that I still don’t know what the hell to expect from this film except that everyone kept making a lot of vague religious references about it and, in the first 20 minutes of it, Barbie asks everyone, “Do you guys ever think about dying?”
Unfortunately, the only thing I can expect is for my jaw to remain intact, since that joke—the joke—apparently is gone. I’m not sure how I’m expected to enjoy this movie now that I know I’ll never hear the Gerwig x Baumbach joke that was so dirty? funny? brilliant? disgusting? something!! it dislocated part of Robbie’s skeleton.
Will I still be seeing this movie when it comes out on July 21? Of course. Will I be making it my life’s mission to stalk, follow, and email Gerwig and Baumbach until they cave out of exhaustion and fear and tell me the joke? Also, of course. Watch this space.