Reese Witherspoon is developing, and potentially starring in, a movie about the origins of the Barbie doll.
Witherspoon will produce with partner Bruna Papandrea through their Pacific Standard banner. The duo is teaming with Bold Films, which will finance.
The two companies optioned the movie 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.” The book focuses on Ruth Handler, who 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. Her husband’s company Mattel introduced the Barbie doll in 1959.
Bold Films’ chairman Michel Litvak is also producing with Witherspoon and Papandrea. Bold Films’ CEO Gary Michael Walters and Jon Oakes will executive produce alongside Robin Gerber and Grace Ledding. Oakes will oversee the film for Bold Films and Papandrea will oversee for Pacific Standard.
“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,” said Litvak.
Pacific Standard has been aggressive in acquiring movie rights since its formation in 2012 in order to remedy the absence of movies with female protagonists.
Since then, Witherspoon and Papandrea produced “Wild” and “Gone Girl,” which were both based on bestselling novels, along with “Hot Pursuit.” Pacific Standard is currently developing Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s “Ashley’s War” at Fox 2000, “Big Little Lies,” “The Engagements,” “Pennyroyal’s Princess Boot Camp,” “The Outliers,” Wendy Walker’s “All Is Not Forgotten,” Ruth Ware’s “In a Dark, Dark Wood” and Garth Callaghan’s “Napkin Notes.”
Witherspoon is handled by CAA, LBI Entertainment and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush and Kaller.
Bold Films’ Karen Barna handled the negotiations for Bold Films. Gretchen Rush and Barry Littman of Hansen, Jacobson handled negotiations on behalf of Witherspoon and Steve Hutensky handled negotiations on behalf of Papandrea.
The news was first reported by The Tracking Board.