Sorry to dash anyone's excitement, but Amy Schumer has dropped out of Barbie, Variety reported on Thursday. Don't worry, though — it sounds like things ended on good terms. The live-action film, inspired by Mattel's iconic toy line, was expected to start production in June, but Schumer couldn't commit to that time frame. Already on her calendar are a lengthy promotional tour for her upcoming comedy, Snatched, which opens in May, and filming for another project: Rebecca Miller’s She Came to Me, opposite Steve Carell.
“Sadly, I’m no longer able to commit to Barbie due to scheduling conflicts,” Schumer told Variety in a statement. “The film has so much promise, and Sony and Mattel have been great partners. I’m bummed, but look forward to seeing Barbie on the big screen.”
The Barbie team reportedly needed to stick to its June 29, 2018 release date, as Mattel already has merchandise and product cycles in motion. Thus, they were unable to accommodate Schumer by pushing back the schedule. The project is still without a director, but Variety described the plot as "a story is in the vein of Splash, Enchanted, and Big," in which "the main character gets kicked out of Barbieland for not being perfect enough and lands in a real-world adventure."
Schumer's departure is undoubtedly a major loss for Barbie, but in many ways, she's already left her mark on the role — both figuratively and literally. Variety notes that she had just done a polish of the script, so if producers keep her editing intact, the movie will feature at least some of the comedian's influence.
Most significantly, though, is the stereotype-smashing precedent set by her casting. When backlash flared up in response to the announcement that she'd be taking on the leading part, Schumer fired back with a powerful Instagram post. "It's that kind of response that let's you know something's wrong with our culture and we all need to work together to change it," she wrote back in December. "They can scream as loud as they want. We can't hear them because we are getting sh*t done. I am proud to lead by example. 'I say if I'm beautiful, I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story. I will.'"
By putting Schumer in the role of Barbie, Mattel took an important leap in rebranding the dangerous beauty ideals it's long been working to upend. Hopefully, Schumer's replacement will be just as subversive.