While the headline might suggest that Reese Witherspoon has been awarded the chance to live out the fantasy of many young girls, that’s not exactly what’s happening. Instead of portraying the iconic blonde doll, Witherspoon is teaming up with her producing partner Bruna Papandrea to tell Barbie’s origin story. According to The Tracking Board, the film will be based on the book Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her.
Barbie’s journey began back in the ’50s when Ruth Handler caught her daughter Barbara struggling to dress the flimsy paper dolls she was playing with. Inspired by her daughter, Handler decided to create a doll that could better support the clothes her daughter was trying to dress her frail dolls in. She went on to modify a doll that she had found abroad which her husband, co-founder of Mattel, later began manufacturing. Barbie made her official debut at the American International Toy Fair in 1959 and by the 1970s Barbie was a household name.
The book has been described as “a fascinating account of how one visionary woman and her product changed an industry and sparked a lasting debate about women’s roles”. Considering the spirit of the story, this looks like it could be a match made in heaven. Witherspoon’s production company is known for producing films that focus on women and their stories, previous successes include Gone Girl and Wild.
There is no word yet on who will play the role of Handler, but since Witherspoon has starred in many of her and Papandrea’s previous projects, I’m guessing she’s got first dibs. If she does star, she will surely shine in the part – just look at her performances in Wild and of course Legally Blonde.