This week, 60 Minutes profiled director, actor and screenwriter Greta Gerwig.
Her latest film, the out-of-the-box blockbuster "Barbie," is the highest grossing movie of the year, bringing in more than a billion dollars worldwide.
When she was initially tapped to write and direct it, Gerwig enlisted the help of her partner in work and life, filmmaker Noah Baumbach. Baumbach, who has written and directed critically acclaimed independent dramas like "The Squid and the Whale" and "Marriage Story," was a bit perplexed by the idea of a Barbie film.
"I couldn't even fathom it," he said. "And Greta wrote these pages…and I thought, 'I can write this Barbie movie. I totally understand what this is.'"
In an interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi, Baumbach and Gerwig spoke about their work on "Barbie," their approach to screenwriting, and why their partnership works. And Alfonsi tried to learn what she could about a "Barbie" sequel.
Gerwig explained that the film begins "very mechanically…like a clock" with Barbie and friends enjoying a picture-perfect day in Barbie Land. And then suddenly, there's an existential crisis: Barbie asks, "Do you guys ever think about dying?"
That moment in the movie is the end result of a writing process that began with Gerwig penning a few early pages for the script and showing them to Baumbach. In those early pages, Barbie meets an old woman in her backyard and is confronted by the idea of her own mortality.
"Noah immediately understood what I was doing and was like, 'You know, this is exciting and there's a movie in here,'" Gerwig explained.
The writing duo also revealed how their writing process informs their approach to directing. Both Gerwig and Baumbach said they prefer to stick to exactly what was written in the script with no substitutions on set when the movie is filmed.
Gerwig said that in the films "Lady Bird" and "Little Women," everything was scripted, down to each "you know" and "um." She says this level of detail is important to retain the rhythm of a conversation that's been written and read aloud hundreds of times before the first frame is shot.
"Once we have something that feels more like a script, then we start reading the whole thing out loud," she explained. "We vetted the language ourselves, so we can hear if there's a joke that's repeated or a rhythm that's off."
Baumbach and Gerwig said that when writing the "Barbie" script, they always had Ryan Gosling in mind to play Ken, even writing his full name next to Ken's lines in the first draft.
When writing for the role of Ken, Baumbach and Gerwig came up with a wealth of ideas they couldn't fit into their final draft. In an earlier version of the script, they further explored the "Ken effect" in the real world and wrote a scene for the movie in which Ryan Gosling plays himself.
"We had way too much material for Ken. We would write, and write, and write," Gerwig explained. Baumbach interrupted and told Gerwig not to "give it away."
Alfonsi asked, "Would there ever be a Ken Movie?" Gerwig laughed and said she couldn't comment on that, but she didn't rule it out completely.
"I mean, the truth is, you know — I guess we'll see," she said with a smile.
The video above was produced and edited by Will Croxton.
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