The playful rivalry between Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan oppenheimer keep going.
Not only are the films’ release dates on the same day, July 21, which started a “Barbieheimer” phenomenon on social media, but the two films, with completely opposite themes, have a few other similarities.
During a recent interview with the Associated PressPosted online Thursday, Gerwig explained why he chose to reference infamous author Marcel Proust in the film.
“In ‘Remembrance of Things Past,’ in ‘Swann’s Way,’ he literally goes back to his childhood through the taste of the cupcake,” he explained. “I thought, well, it will make a nice Easter egg for one person.”
The specific scene the director is referring to is when Margot Robbie’s Barbie goes into its plastic package and comments that the familiar smell is a Proustian memory. Will Ferrell’s Mattell CEO character then proceeds to say, “Remember Proust’s Barbie? That didn’t sell well.”
But what Gerwig didn’t know is that the film in this weekend’s competition also has a connection to Proust. Nolan’s film is based on American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in developing the atomic bomb, and Oppenheimer, the man himself, supposedly had a recognition to the author also.
When Gerwig learned of the connection, he replied, “So she would have loved Proust’s Barbie!”
The highly anticipated film follows Robbie’s Barbie and Ryan Gosling’s Ken, who seem to be living this perfect, colorful life in Barbie Land. But when Barbie gets the chance to go to the real human world, she goes on a journey to understand herself and discover her true purpose.
Earlier in the interview, Gerwig also shared whether he likes reading movie reviews once they come out and what his thoughts were after watching some of them. Barbie.
“Of course. I’m not Emily Dickinson. I’m not above anything,” she said, noting that she waited until the next day to read them because she was too nervous to watch Wednesday. “There are a lot of critics that I really respect and have really liked. Film criticism matters to me as a person and it’s also important to be in conversation with people who think about film. But it can be very scary at the point where you’re at the emotional point of releasing a film to take it in.”
Gerwig added that she also likes to look at the reviews a few weeks later so she can “take it in more.”
“It’s too overwhelming right now,” the director said. “But I checked the email and I’m happy. [Barbie] It seems to have been received in the spirit in which it was intended, which is exciting.”
Barbie debuts in theaters on Friday.