WARNING: Light spoilers for Barbie and the performance of America Ferrera ahead.
Barbie and all things related to the movie directed by Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) have been trending since it hit theaters nationwide last week. This includes Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling’s co-star America Ferrera, who has received a lot of praise for her performance in the blockbuster.
Much of that praise for Ferrera is coming from the reactions to a monologue she has in the third act of the movie where she talks about the challenges women face in the world today. According to Gerwig, many people on the set, including male cast members, were in tears when Ferrera delivered the heartfelt speech.
“When America was giving her beautiful speech, I was just sobbing, and then I looked around and I realized everybody’s crying on the set,” Gerwig told The Atlantic. “The men are crying, too, because they have their own speech they feel they can’t ever give, you know? And they have their twin tightrope, which is also painful. There’s something about some of these structures that are just, you know, ‘Somebody make me stop!’ That’s sort of, I suppose, the feeling behind Ken.”
In an earlier interview with Vanity Fair, Ferrera revealed that she probably performed that scene an estimated 30 to 50 times over a period of two days even though it felt like “500 takes” and that “by the end, [co-star Ariana Greenblatt] recited the monologue to me because she had memorized it because that’s how many times I had said it.”
America Ferrera added: “Neither one of us went into it feeling like it’s got to grow and crescendo to this big moment where you burst into tears or you’re laughing so hard you cry. There were no targets to hit. It was much more a moment-to-moment drop in. It really did, over the course of filming, find a shape. It was about just staying as present in the moment and just seeing really where the words would take it.”
Barbie is currently playing in theaters.
This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, Barbie being covered here wouldn’t exist.