Everybody has an origin story, including the world’s most famous doll. Bold Films said today that it will finance and produce Barbie and Ruth, the tale of the toy that forever changed an industry — and the visionary woman behind it. Reese Witherspoon is being eyed for the starring role of Barbie creator Ruth Handler.
Bold teamed with Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea’s Pacific Standard to option film rights to Robin Gerber’s 2010 book Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her. Bold Films’ chairman Michel Litvak will produce along with Witherspoon and Papandrea. Bold Films CEO Gary Michael Walters and Jon Oakes will executive produce alongside Gerber and Grace Ledding.
Handler was inspired to create the Barbie doll after seeing her daughter, Barbara, playing with paper dolls modeled after infants. Wanting her daughter to aspire to be a woman with choices, Handler found an adult novelty toy abroad and modified it to work as a toy for children, along with a separate line of accessories, which she then manufactured with her husband via their company, Mattel. The original Barbie premiered at the American International Toy Fair in 1959. Millions have been sold in the decades since, but the doll also sparked a lasting debate about women’s roles.
“Ruth Handler’s inspiring true story reveals the triumphs and struggles of the genius businesswoman behind the creation of Barbie, the most iconic doll in the world,” Litvak said.