Greta Gerwig's Barbie Movie Adds Michael Cera, Issa Rae, Hari Nef

The "Barbie" movie at Warner Bros. is continuing to add members to its cast, signaling that the studio is all-in on trying to make this movie about the classic toy a big hit. Or, at the very least, they're stacking the deck in their favor as much as humanly possible. To that end, two new cast members have joined the growing ensemble in the form of Michael Cera ("Superbad," "This Is the End") and Issa Rae ("Insecure," "The Lovebirds").

People was the first to break the news of the casting, though no further details on who either Cera or Rae are playing was provided at this time. Margot Robbie ("Birds of Prey") is leading the cast in the title role as the famed doll from Mattel. Meanwhile, Ryan Gosling ("Crazy Stupid Love") is on board to play her counterpart, Ken. The A-list cast also includes the likes of Will Ferrell ("Anchorman"), America Ferrera ("Superstore"), Simu Liu ("Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings"), and Kate McKinnon ("Saturday Night Live").

Filming is said to be underway currently in the U.K. under the direction of Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig, known for her work behind the camera on films such as "Lady Bird" and "Little Women." Though Gerwig is an accomplished actress as well, she is not expected to play a part in front of the camera for this film. Gerwig co-wrote the screenplay alongside Noah Baumbach ("Marriage Story"). Robbie, in addition to her starring role, is on board as a producer as well.

Update: Variety is now reporting that Hari Nef has joined the cast as well. However, like most of the cast so far, Variety adds that "Her role is under wraps in the Warner Bros. feature." 

From the toy chest to the big screen

Hollywood's continued desperation for franchises and movies based on recognizable IP to get an edge in the marketplace is as feverish as it's ever been. Securing a box office hit is especially elusive in the pandemic era, and turning to the toy chest seems to be an increasingly popular way to go about it. A new "Masters of the Universe" movie is getting made at Netflix, and even a "Play-Doh" movie is in development, just as a couple of examples. "Barbie" is about as recognizable as it comes though, in terms of recognition in the eyes of the general public.

One might roll their eyes at the prospect, assuming it is just a cash grab. For what it's worth, plot details remain totally under wraps for the time being but let us not forget that Warner Bros. was the studio behind "The LEGO Movie," one of the most unexpectedly joyous mainstream blockbusters in recent memory. If they can turn those beloved bricks into gold, perhaps they can do the same for Mattel's famous doll.

The "Barbie" movie does not yet have a release date but is expected to arrive sometime next year. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details come our way.