Anne Hathaway is talking about stepping into the role of Barbie for Sony Pictures, though the studio said “it is premature.” That comes even as its known that Alethea Jones also has been circling to direct after a nod from Hathaway.
Hathaway had been in the mix shortly after Amy Schumer left the project in March. The first big-screen, live-action Barbie film promises to get a huge marketing push from Sony and its partner Mattel in the summer 2018.
The movie is being produced by the husband/wife team of Walter Parkes and Lori MacDonald, along with former Sony studio chairman Amy Pascal (who bought the rights in 2014 while an executive). Mattel’s President and COO of Richard Dickson, who over the past two years has worked to modernize the brand, will serve as executive producer.
Pascal had alluded to talking to an Oscar-winning actress for the role of Barbie in her recent interview with The New York Times, which was no secret around town was Hathaway, but no one knew if the deal would make because of scheduling conflicts. Olivia Milch (Oceans Eight) was brought on to rewrite the script in the hope of getting Hathaway.
If a deal can be made, Hathaway would play a character who lives in Barbieland, where she gets kicked out basically because she’s not perfect enough, is a bit eccentric and doesn’t quite fit the mold. She then goes on an adventure in the real world, and by the time she returns to Barbieland to save it, she has gained the realization that perfection comes on the inside, not the outside, and that the key to happiness is belief in oneself, free of the obligation to adhere to some unattainable standard of perfection.
The film is expected to be PG and a broader family comedy along the lines of Splash, Enchanted and Big.
Mattel has been fiercely protective of the Barbie brand, as any corporation would be. Barbie has transformed over generations as society has changed, adding people of color in the 1960s, changing stereotypes from Queen of the Prom and airline outfits to keeping in step with today’s ever-evolving, more diverse world.
Barbie now incorporates different occupations and body types to become all inclusive and to reflect the population. Mattel even has Petite Barbie and Tall Barbie. It also started a Barbie YouTube channel. The brand itself is huge, logging in with sales of more than $3 billion worldwide.
Few know, but Barbie — in her inception — actually was based on a German doll and racy comic book character named Lily. But that was many decades ago. Ruth Handler modeled Barbie after Lily and then the doll was introduced at the 1959 World’s Fair in Moscow.
Hathaway won her Oscar for Les Miserables, was just onscreen in Colossal and co-stars in next year’s Ocean’s Eight. She is repped by CAA, Management 360 and Sloane Offer. Jones is repped by Paradigm, 3 Arts and Lichter Grossman.
EXCLUSIVE: Anne Hathaway will star in O2, a contained thriller with sci-fi elements that is fast coming together for a fall shoot. IM Global is closing a deal to finance the film that will fall in the $10 million budget range. In the script by Christie LeBlanc, Hathaway will play a woman who wakes up inside a cryogenic chamber, with no memory of how she got there. She must escape the chamber before her air runs out. Its sci-fi elements make it a closer cousin to Gravity than Buried, even though like both of those, the scenes are largely devoted to a single performer. Suzan Bymel and Hathaway have just signed on to produce with Echo Lake’s Adam Riback and James Engle, and IM Global’s Stuart Ford and Greg Shapiro will also be producers. They will quickly find a director, with CAA representing domestic rights.
IM Global is right now shooting Serenity with Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey, which made for a good match on their next project together. A charming back story here is the writer, LeBlanc. A single mother from the sleepy town of Gatineau, Quebec, LeBlanc wrote the script and sent it unsolicited to Echo Lake’s Riback and Engle. They developed subsequent drafts with her. When they first sent it out to talent, O2 impressed the town enough that it became one of the top choices for the 2016 Black List. Now it has a bankable Oscar-winning heroine in the main role, one who is being courted for numerous other films for her fall slot, but who chose O2. The scribe signed with Echo Lake for management and CAA for representation off her first screenplay. Hathaway most recently wrapped Oceans Eight, the Gary Ross-directed spinoff she stars in with a cast that includes Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Helena Bonham Carter. Hathaway is repped by CAA and Management 360.
EXCLUSIVE: Anne Hathaway has boarded an untitled contemporary romantic comedy being developed at STXfilms from screenwriters Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein. Hathaway will star in and produce the project about dating in the 21st century when technology has overtaken — well, pretty much everything. The company had been looking for a project for the actress for some time. Kohn and Silverstein previously scripted How to Be Single, The Vow and He’s Just Not That Into You.
The pair wrote the story for the 2010 Garry Marshall-directed romantic comedy Valentine’s Day, in which Hathaway had a role.
Also producing the new romantic comedy will be Adam Shulman, with Jonathan Rice as co-producer. The Hathaway project is yet another in the line of female-driven films being developed, produced and/or distributed by STXfilms following the box office hit Bad Moms (which grossed $183.9M worldwide) and the upcoming sequel A Bad Moms Christmas.
This follows on the heels of a big get for the company’s STXinternational arm. The offshore rights to Ridley Scott’s next directing project All the Money in the World were just picked up at Cannes from Imperative Entertainment and Scott Free. The true-crime thriller is about 1973 kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III.
The Hathaway project also comes after the company just announced that Melissa McCarthy will star in The Happytime Murders, an R-rated live-action/puppet movie from director Brian Henson. Noteworthy that a number of the pictures STXfilms are either producing or distributing either star or have been directed by women.
“We have been looking for ways to work with Annie since launching STX, and when she came to us with this idea, we knew right away that we wanted to make this movie with her,” STXfilms chairman Adam Fogelson said in a statement about the project. “This is a modern-day look at love, dating and hookups with a very contemporary and authentic voice that speaks to a generation that casually swipes right to find a mate. As technology has allowed for a new era for matchmaking, it also comes with a lot of comedy and consequences, and Anne wanted to explore that territory in funny, relevant and very unexpected ways.”
STXfilms VP Production Sheroum Kim will oversee development of the film on behalf of the studio.
Hathaway (Les Miserables, Colossal and the upcoming Ocean’s 8) is repped by CAA, Management 360 and Sloane Offer. Writers Kohn and Silverstein are repped by UTA and Management 360.
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a hot project heading out to the European Film Market in Berlin next month. Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway are in negotiations to star in sexy noir Serenity, written and directed by Steven Knight. Greg Shapiro (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty) and Guy Heeley will produce.
IM Global will finance and produce and is launching the project at the EFM, making it the third time the company has teamed with Knight: The company previously produced, financed and sold Tom Hardy-starring one-man thriller Locke and also fully financed Redemption from the writer-director. CAA is repping domestic rights for Serenity.
We’re hearing the project is a mysterious tale of a fishing boat captain whose past is about to crash up against his life on a small island in the Caribbean, ensnaring him in a new reality that might not be all it seems. A number of U.S. studios are said to be circling the project already. Filming is expected to begin this summer.
This is a reteam for Oscar winners McConaughey and Hathaway after 2014’s Interstellar.
McConaughey currently has adventure drama Gold in release and is voicing the lead character in Illumination/Universal’s Sing. He’s up next as the Man in Black in Sony’s Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower.
Hathaway’s in upcoming sci-fi actioner Colossal and stars in Warner Bros’ Ocean’s Eight which is out next year.
This will be Knight’s third directorial feature effort following 2013’s critically-acclaimed Locke and Jason Statham starrer Redemption. The in-demand writer-director is the brains behind BBC Two’s hit gangster drama Peaky Blinders and the Tom Hardy BBC/FX series Taboo. Season 4 of Peaky begins shooting in March.
Knight was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for 2002’s Dirty Pretty Things. Further writing credits include Bradley Cooper-starrer Burnt; Robert Zemeckis’ WWII drama Allied with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard; and The 100-Foot Journey with Helen Mirren. His upcoming projects include Susanna White’s Woman Walks Ahead and November Criminals. He’s also scripting World War Z 2.
Knight, McConaughey and Hathaway are repped by CAA.