Greta Gerwig Was Asked To Cut This Emotional Barbie Scene

“I said, ‘If I cut the scene, I don’t know what this movie is about.’”

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 12: Director Greta Gerwig attends the European premiere of 'Barbie' at...
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Spoiler alert for Barbie ahead. There’s many moments in the Barbie movie that viewers are shocked were approved by Mattel, but for Greta Gerwig, she can’t believe she got away with keeping one of the film’s low-key scenes. In an interview with Rolling Stone, the writer-director revealed that executives asked her to cut the scene where Margot Robbie’s Barbie had a teary-eyed encounter with an elderly woman — but she refused.

During the film, Barbie, overwhelmed by discovering the real world, sits at a bus stop and comes across an elderly woman, played by Oscar-winner costume designer Ann Roth. Barbie looks deep into her eyes and calls her “beautiful,” to which the unnamed woman lovingly replies, “I know it.” “It’s a cul-de-sac of a moment, in a way — it doesn’t lead anywhere,” Gerwig admitted about the scene. “And in early cuts, looking at the movie, it was suggested, ‘Well, you could cut it. And actually, the story would move on just the same.’ And I said, ‘If I cut the scene, I don’t know what this movie is about.’”

Gerwig went on to call this part “the heart of the movie,” and praised Robbie for her subtle but moving performance. “The way Margot plays that moment is so gentle and so unforced,” she said. “There’s the more outrageous elements in the movie that people say, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe Mattel let you do this,’ or, ‘I can’t believe Warner Bros. let you do this.’ But to me, the part that I can’t believe that is still in the movie is this little cul-de-sac that doesn’t lead anywhere.”

Gerwig expanded on the scene in a separate interview with the New York Times, calling 91-year-old Roth “a real friend” and comparing her character to a God-like woman. “The idea of a loving God who’s a mother, a grandmother — who looks at you and says, ‘Honey, you’re doing OK’ — is something I feel like I need and I wanted to give to other people,” she said, calling it a “transaction of grace.” She concluded by reiterating how important that scene was for her overall vision of the film. “If I cut that scene, I don’t know why I’m making this movie,” she said. “If I don’t have that scene, I don’t know what it is or what I’ve done.”