Margot Robbie Told "Barbie" Director Greta Gerwig That Aqua's "Barbie Girl" "Has to Be" in the Movie

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Buzz around Greta Gerwig's star-studded live-action "Barbie" movie continues to grow as fans gear up for the movie's premiere next month. After Warner Bros. unveiled a first look at the film and its release date on Twitter on April 27, 2022, fans immediately began to speculate what else they could expect from the forthcoming movie — mainly whether or not Aqua's iconic 1997 song "Barbie Girl" will appear in the film.

As perfect as that pairing would be, it initially seemed like there were no plans for that to happen. "The song will not be used in the movie," Ulrich Møller-Jørgensen, manager of Aqua lead singer Lene Nystrøm, told Variety in April 2022. Møller-Jørgensen didn't provide further insight, but Nystrøm seemed relieved about it. In a September 2022 interview with Variety, the singer said that the band's song appearing in the live-action movie would be too on-the-nose, or as she put it, "cheese on cheese." "I totally understand why they didn't use it," she added, "but it's going to bring us a lot of attention, no matter what." Meanwhile, keyboardist Søren Rasted found the idea amusing and joked to the outlet, "We should say we turned it down. Ryan Gosling is not good enough!"

However, it seems like maybe the band may have been playing coy with their responses because the track does appear in some form on the film's soundtrack. "Barbie Girl" is sampled in Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice's "Barbie World" collab on the album, with the Aqua chorus serving as the backing track.

According to "Barbie" lead Margot Robbie, Gerwig found a clever way to still include "Barbie Girl" in their new movie without explicitly working it into the script. "I was like, 'Greta, how are we going to incorporate this song? We can't do a Barbie movie and not have a nod to Aqua's "Barbie Girl." It has to be in there,'" the actor recalled to Rolling Stone in an interview published on June 26. "And [Greta] was like, 'Don't worry, we're going to find a cool way to incorporate it.'" Which she did when she surprised Robbie with Minaj and Spice's remixed track. Robbie remembered: "I was like, 'Together? Are you joking?!' I just knew immediately that all my girlfriends were going to lose their minds."

Interestingly enough, there was a prior lawsuit between Mattel, which owns the Barbie brand, and MCA Records, when "Barbie Girl" was first released. In 1997, Mattel sued MCA Records for trademark infringement following the release of "Barbie Girl," alleging that the song's "sexual and denigrating lyrics" tarnish the doll brand's wholesome reputation. MCA Records later countersued the toy company for defamation, arguing that their alleged parody song was under the protection of the First Amendment. After a nine-month legal battle, the United States District Court in California dismissed the case, though Billboard reported that Mattel later appealed the case to no avail.