Anne Hathaway Was Supposed to Play Barbie—But Says It’s a “Lucky Thing” That Her Version Was Never Made

“You learn to just go, you know what, the right role finds the right person, and sometimes it’s you, and sometimes it’s not.”

Anne Hathaway
(Image credit: Getty)

Once upon a time, Anne Hathaway was slated to be the star of the Barbie movie—but now says, per The Hollywood Reporter, that it’s a “lucky thing” her version never got made, and that the Greta Gerwig-directed Barbie (starring Margot Robbie) “hit a bullseye.”

Back in 2017, Hathaway was attached to the Barbie film after Amy Schumer dropped out of the project, citing “scheduling conflicts” at the time. Originally set for a May 2020 release date with Alethea Jones directing, that movie never materialized. (The actual Barbie wouldn’t be released for over three years, ultimately hitting theaters in July 2023.) 

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ken

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This allowed for Robbie’s production company, Lucky Chap, to come in and try to convince Warner Bros. to take on the movie. (The original film was with Sony.) That said, on a recent episode of the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast, Hathaway had nothing but praise for the film that was ultimately made: “The thing that’s so exciting about what Margot and Greta and Ryan and America and that entire phenomenal team [did] is they hit a bullseye,” Hathaway said. “The bullseye caused the entire world to reach this level of ecstasy. Now imagine that version, that much energy, that much anticipation, that much emotion, but it’s not the right version. So I actually think of it as a lucky thing [the Sony movie didn’t get developed].”

Of Robbie’s portrayal of the iconic doll, Hathaway said “Margot is just sublime, period. What she is doing as a creative person and a producer is so exciting and inspiring. And the mythic giants they toppled with [Barbie] that have kept certain narratives in place that have not allowed opportunities to develop for so many people, they ran straight through it, dancing, sparkling!” 

Anne Hathaway on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

(Image credit: Getty Images)

She continued “Just as a cinema-goer and just as a woman in Hollywood since I was a kid, I’m thrilled by the development. If I believed that the version I was attached to could have done that, yeah, I might feel differently about it, but I genuinely think their [film] was the best possible version. So it’s actually very easy to just be thrilled and happy [for them]. I’m also a person who loves watching women kill it. I just do. I just love it. And also, to do so well, so undeniably that they actually had to write new records, come on! I think it’s probably going to make things better.”

Last year, Schumer revealed that the reason she left the Sony Barbie movie was much more complicated than “scheduling conflicts”—the reason cited prior. “They definitely didn’t want to do it the way I wanted to do it—the only way I was interested in doing it,” Schumer told The Hollywood Reporter, adding she knew just how off base their visions were to each other when the studio sent her a pair of Manolo Blahniks to celebrate. “The idea that that’s just what every woman must want, right there, I should have gone, ‘You’ve got the wrong gal.’” 

amy schumer

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As Hathaway said elsewhere in her podcast interview, she noted that she believes everything happens for a reason: “You learn to just go, you know what, the right role finds the right person, and sometimes it’s you, and sometimes it’s not,” she said. “When it doesn’t happen, just trust deeper and keep going. It sounds maybe a little corny, but you really do have to keep it grateful.”

Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gerwig’s Barbie went on to earn an estimated $155 million at the domestic box office its opening weekend alone. The movie has since netted over $1.4 billion at the worldwide box office. “I wanted to make something anarchic and wild and funny and cathartic and the idea that it’s actually being received that way, it’s sort of extraordinary,” Gerwig told The New York Times. “I think it was a particular ripple in the universe that allowed it to happen. I’m so grateful. I’m so amazed. I’m at a loss for words, really…it’s been amazing to walk around and see people in pink. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine something like this.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.