Greta Gerwig Knew CGI Barbie Feet Would Have Been 'Terrifying'


There have been endless critiques and assessments of the anatomical correctness of the Barbie doll since her inception. Whether it's her elongated neck, teeny-tiny torso, or even the lack of Ken's ... twig and berries, it seems like everyone has something to say about Barbie's body. Never mind that her proportions are weird because she's a plastic mannequin compensating for the unavoidable thickness of clothing adding bulk to her frame (and not an actual representation of how human bodies are built), Barbie has always been slightly uncanny.

Some models have a plastic joint in her knee that makes the most satisfying ASMR cracking sound you'll ever hear (and some medical companies have even used the tech to make prosthetic knuckles), while others have legs that squeak slightly if you move her limbs too fast. But there's nothing more identifiable (or easily chewable, if you ask a lot of Barbie fans) than her permanently pointed feet.

When the trailer for Greta Gerwig's upcoming "Barbie" movie arrived, fans were elated to see the opening shot of Margot Robbie's Barbie stepping out of her high-heel, poof-ball slippers to reveal her still arched bare feet, balancing on the balls of her tootsies. For the Wikifeet-obsessed fetishists at home, those are Margot Robbie's feet, but Gerwig was wise to have Robbie use her own kickers, rather than digitally morph them to look more like Barbie's smooth, almost toeless wonders. Why? 

Well, because CGI feet would have been nightmare fuel.

Avoiding the nightmare feet

During a recent interview on the Australian talk show "The Project," Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie talked about the specific shot of the feet and the debates that came with how to properly present the Barbie feet. "There was a big discussion in the beginning," Gerwig said. "Everyone said, 'Are you going to CGI all the feet?' And I thought, 'Oh god, no! That's terrifying! That's a nightmare.'" If there was anything to be learned from the disastrous horror show that was Tom Hooper's adaptation of "Cats," it's that crossing into the uncanny valley should be avoided at all costs. (Seriously, why did Idris Elba's Macavity just look like a nude Idris Elba with Ken doll-crotch?!)

Fortunately, as Gerwig added, "Margot has the nicest feet." Everyone on the talk show had a laugh, but Gerwig is absolutely right. "She has these beautiful dancer feet. I was like, 'She should just hang onto that bar and do it just like this.'" Robbie definitely has the dancer arch down, but fortunately, she doesn't have the jagged toenails or permanent callouses that most dancers have for the rest of their lives. I am unfortunately speaking from experience and simultaneously apologizing to every pedicurist cursed with sanding down my warlocks.

Barbie's feet are an identifiable staple of the doll, and considering the Barbie played by Hari Nef panics about her having "flat feet" in the trailer and the Kate McKinnon Barbie offers up Birkenstocks, I reckon that "Barbie" will have much more to say about feet than expected.

"Barbie" dazzles its way into theaters on July 21, 2023.