...But will she play the role of the world's most famous doll?
Reese Witherspoon is in talks to develop a film about the origins of best-selling doll Barbie and her maker, Ruth Handler.
The producer and Oscar-winning actress reportedly purchased the rights to Robin Gerber’s 2010 book Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her through her own production company Pacific Standard, which she co-founded in 2012.
The book charts the life of Ruth Handler who was inspired to create the now world-famous doll after her daughter Barbara grew tired of playing with paper dolls and baby toys in the 1950s. Eager to make a toy which emulated the fashions of grown-ups, Ruth pitched the idea to her husband who worked at toy manufacturing company Mattel and he helped his wife develop the doll that we now know as Barbie.
Barbie was first unveiled at the American International Toy Fair in 1959 and rose to international fame in the 1970s. The book also details Ruth’s personal battle with breast cancer which led her to found Nearly Me – a company which specialises in creating realistic versions of a woman’s breast for those who have had a mastectomy.
And excitingly, this isn’t the first bit of Barbie news to be associated with Reese Witherspoon. In March, Sony revealed that they would be creating a Barbie film produced by Amy Poehler whereby the character of Barbie would (somewhat ambiguously) be using ‘the skills she has gained in her personal life and professional experience to help others’. Reese was rumoured to be lined up for the part as the world-famous doll and the screenplay was reportedly due to be penned by director Diablo Cody, who wrote the script for 2007 movie Juno.
News of the biopic will come as little surprise to fans, as Witherspoon has quietly become a juggernaut of success behind the camera in recent years. The Oscar-winner was inspired to launch her own production company almost four years ago with Australian producer Bruna Papandre, after becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of inspiring female leads over 30-years-old, and has since enjoyed success with films Gone Girl (based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn novel) and Wild (an adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir), in which Reese starred as the lead who embarked on a voyage of self-discovering after losing her Mother.
According to the Motion Picture Association of America, in 2013 women made up 52% of total moviegoers and half of all tickets sold. Yet only 15% of these films starred women, and we’d bet that a pretty low proportion were written by them too. So one things’ for sure, with amazingly talented female writers and producers like Amy, Reese and Diablo at work, things could be changing. We’re all for films which look set to cement Barbie as an empowering role model in popular culture and we’ve even charted the best feminist icons in film, in case you need a bit of faith restored in cinema right now.
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