Few movies in recent memory have received as much organic social media hype as Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie.” A steady stream of leaked images, reports of pink paint shortages, and anecdotes from the cast about delicious on-set madness have turned Gerwig’s maximalist take on Mattel’s iconic toy line into one of the most anticipated movie events of the summer.
Fans are closer than ever to seeing the film in its entirety when it hits theaters on July 21, and cast members seem to be relishing their last chances to promote the film. In a new interview with Out, “Barbie” star Hari Nef said the film’s combination of musical comedy with over-the-top costumes and makeup made it look like they were filming a version of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
“I’ve joked before, it really felt like ‘Greta Gerwig’s Drag Race,'” said Nef. “Because I was acting, dancing, acting, and the whole time I was tight, in wigs, painted from head to toe, padded, in heels.”
The actress went on to explain that the film’s world of toys was the perfect canvas for the kind of performative femininity drag shows are known for.
“It’s a very specific kind of womanhood,” she said. “It’s not a kind of womanhood that I live in every single day of my life, but it’s one that I come back to over and over again. It’s also one that I feel very comfortable wearing in public, when the cameras are on, and when people are watching.”
Nef’s comfort with the particular kind of humor Gerwig brought to “Barbie” was evident early in the casting process. In a 2022 interview, the director recalled being elated at Nef’s audition for the film and cited it as an early example of consolidating her vision for her.
“I saw Hari’s audition tape for ‘Barbie’ and freaked out,” Gerwig said. “I ran into the producer’s office with a computer, hit play and said, ‘That’s it. This is our movie.’ He had a joy and playfulness and a bright, intelligent humor, which was exactly the tone: knowledgeable but not flippant, lively but not vapid.