Gina Rodriguez, Elle Fanning, and 5 Other Actresses Who Should Play the Live-Action Barbie Lead

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Photo: Mattel

Now that Amy Schumer has backed out of the starring role in the live-action Barbie movie, what’s an 11-and-a-half-inch piece of plastic to do? Production is already rolling on the movie tie-in dolls, so the Sony comedy needs a lead actress and a director ASAP to meet the June 29, 2018, release date. The plot has been decided upon: “The Barbie movie is said to be in the vein of Splash, Enchanted and Big,” according to Variety. “In it, the main character gets kicked out of Barbieland for not being perfect enough and lands in a real-world adventure.” Barbara Millicent Roberts (yes, that is indeed Barbie’s full name) needs a new live-action actress, and we’ve culled legions of potential leads to find the seven actresses best suited to fill the iconic doll’s shoes.

Photo: Getty Images; Mattel

Gina Rodriguez
It’s harder than it looks to give depth and personality to a character defined by optimism and naïveté. Gina Rodriguez has mastered that skill on Jane the Virgin, where she still manages to make Jane, who is no longer a virgin at this point, funny and compelling without turning into her an overexaggerated parody. Rodriguez’s Barbie would be less a crass comedian than a dreamy misfit, who gets kicked out of the mostly blonde Barbie world for not looking the part. Rodriguez can sell Barbie’s steely determination out there in the real world, and add in some physical comedy, and when the Barbie movie hands her some character development, unleash the waterworks — nobody’s better than Gina Rodriguez at crying. (For the sake of Michael fans, Brett Dier would of course be her Ken.) Jackson McHenry

Photo: Getty Images; Mattel

Jessica St. Clair
It’s completely unacceptable that Jessica St. Clair isn’t a huge movie star by now. She’s a genius improviser who’s consistently the best part of any podcast she’s on. She can be incredibly raunchy and broad, but she has also produced (along with the brilliant Lennon Parham) two beautiful, heartwarming, and yes, hilarious, shows about female friendship (Best Friends Forever and Playing House). She could play the lead in most movie comedies and sell it, but she’s particularly fit for taking on Barbie. You could believe her as a loud, opinionated, imperfect Barbie you instantly fall in love with and root for, or a Barbie who follows all the rules but one day decides she’s not going to stay in the box anymore. I dare you to watch five minutes of Playing House (or listen to five minutes of her on any podcast) and not be instantly charmed. Sarah Caldwell

Photo: Getty Images; Mattel

Tyra Banks
Cancel the casting call — Tyra Banks is the most qualified woman on this list. First of all, she made this movie almost two decades ago when it was called Life Size. But Tyra has another talent, an understanding that can’t be taught: Despite spending her entire career as a savvy living Barbie through modeling and hosting gigs, she’s good at making jokes about how beautiful she is. It sounds shallow, but it’s a skill: Pretty people have a hard time getting beyond the jokes about junk food and bad morning breath. Tyra is naturally goofy, the perfect fit for a Barbie comedy. Beyond that, don’t we deserve to see “Hoe, but make it fashion” on the big screen? Yes. Yes we do.Hunter Harris

Photo: Getty Images; Mattel

Melanie Lynskey
Melanie Lynskey’s Twitter bio is exactly what makes her perfect for this role: “Constant portrayer of morose or dispirited types.” Obviously that’s not going to fly in Barbieland, and after one too many sit-downs with the tribal council (which probably includes Anna Camp, Reese Witherspoon, and even Helen Mirren, with Bella Heathcote serving coffee), Melanie is banished from her ill-fitting home. The transition is hard, but it turns out her Barbie’s tendency toward cynicism, disappointment, spontaneous crying jags, and a love/hate relationship with her body don’t make her a failure. They make her human! The idea of watching Lynskey awkwardly struggle to fit in a rigid and sterile world like Barbieland is so tender and genuine and darkly funny, I’m already crying. Literally no one can play a square peg in a round hole as effectively as Lynskey, and if she doesn’t get cast in this Barbie movie, a rival studio needs to fund another one just for her. Melanie Lynskey Barbie is all of us. Jordan Crucchiola

Photo: Getty Images; Mattel

June Diane Raphael
June Diane Raphael is a comedic genius. Anyone who watched her play unlucky-in-love Julie Gristlewhite on the Bachelor parody Burning Love knows how seamlessly she can transition from clueless and hopeful to maybe a little unhinged. It’s that kind of manic energy that would make her a perfect down-on-her-luck Barbie who still believes in a Barbie Dream World, but has to deal with a crummy and bleak reality. SC

Photo: Getty Images; Mattel

Elle Fanning
If you’re thinking right now that wispy, blonde, wide-eyed Elle Fanning is perfect Barbie material, then you would be right. If you’re thinking she wouldn’t get kicked out of Barbieland, though, you’d be wrong. Elle’s Barbie yearns for adventure too strongly to be caged by the supposed “perfection” of Barbieland, and her constant daydreaming and inability to engage in the plastic molded perfection of her home would get her bounced from utopia. But the real world is where she wants to be anyway, and the little Wonderstruck Barbie is ready to embrace all the good, bad, and ugly that life has to offer. Alternately, this becomes the spiritual sequel to Neon Demon and Elle gets chased out of Barbieland because all the other the other try-hard Barbies want to literally eat pieces of her in hopes of absorbing what makes her effortlessly transcendent, and she goes on the lam to survive. JC

Photo: Getty Images; Mattel

Nicki Minaj
Nicki has a few acting credits to her name, but she also has a legion of devoted fans who call themselves Barbz. Think of the cross promotion opportunities! Also, I mean, come on: HH

Gina Rodriguez, Elle Fanning, and 5 Other Dream Barbie Leads