Hulu might be getting serious critical attention for its adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, but the streaming leader has also been busy bolstering its selection of documentary films and series lately. Hulu and CNN recently struck a deal to bring CNN documentaries to Hulu, marking a first for the cable news giant. Now, Hulu has announced an original documentary sure to be the subject of intense debate and controversy when it’s released. Barbie, one of America’s most enduring and controversial icons, will be the subject of a new documentary film produced exclusively for Hulu.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the documentary will offer “a retrospective look at Barbie’s unexpected origins to becoming the most popular doll ever created (as well as a fashion icon and a target for feminists).” Andrea Nevins (Play It Forward, The Other F Word) will direct and produce the film for Hulu. The film will include never-seen-before archival footage from toy giant Mattel chronicling the impossibly-proportioned doll’s creation, as well as interviews from a wide range of experts and critics including political activist and feminist icon Gloria Steinem and New York Times best-selling essayist Roxane Gay. Alongside a comprehensive look into the history and impact of the blonde dreamhouse-inhabiting doll, the film will examine the last 60 years of pop culture and attempt to situate Barbie into a larger American narrative.
The new as-yet-unnamed documentary is only one of two new Barbie-themed projects in the works at Hulu. The streaming giant is also producing a live-action adaptation of Barbie with some serious Hollywood name power attached to it. Amy Schumer was originally slated to play the spindly, long-legged doll, but now it appears that Anne Hathaway has replaced her. The film will turn the typical Barbie narrative on its head, placing Barbie in the real world where she comes to realize that the perfect, pink dreamworld of her toy life is nothing but a comfortable fantasy that ultimately keeps her imprisoned by consumerism and the male gaze.
Hulu’s unnamed Barbie documentary is slated to premiere in 2018.