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Greta Gerwig Says She Took on Barbie Movie with Fleeting Fear: ‘This Could Be a Career-Ender’

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 08: Greta Gerwig attends the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards at Santa Monica Pier on February 08, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 08: Greta Gerwig attends the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards at Santa Monica Pier on February 08, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Photo: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Greta Gerwig tackled some of her biggest fears in Barbie.

The Academy Award nominee, 39, who wrote and directed Warner Bros. Pictures’ upcoming Barbie movie, admitted “it was terrifying” taking the helm of such an iconic project as she appeared on Friday’s episode of Dua Lipa’s At Your Service podcast.

“There’s something about starting from that place where it’s like, ‘Well, anything is possible,'” she explained. “It felt like vertigo, starting to write it. Where do you even begin? And what would be the story?”

“I think that feeling that I had was knowing that it would be really interesting terror. Usually, that’s where the best stuff is, when you’re like, ‘I am terrified of that.’ Anything where you’re like, ‘This could be a career-ender,’ then you’re like, ‘Okay, I probably should do it,'” Gerwig said with a laugh.

She and partner Noah Baumbach signed on to write the screenplay for the upcoming Barbie starring Margot Robbie back in 2019. Gerwig was tapped to direct the film last July, and filming began at Venice Beach in June.

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling rollerskate through Venice Beach while filming 'Barbie' in Los Angeles, California

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling rollerskate through Venice Beach while filming 'Barbie' in Los Angeles, California

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Robbie, 32, stars as the beloved doll, while Ryan Gosling plays Ken. The movie also stars Will Ferrell, America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Michael Cera, Issa Rae, Hari Nef, Simu Liu and Ncuti Gatwa.

The Lady Bird auteur previously teased the upcoming movie while appearing on Variety‘s The Big Ticket with Marc Malkin podcast in Dec. 2019, admitting that she had a “girl crush” on Robbie: “Doesn’t everyone?”

“She came to us and had a very exciting idea and was interested to hear our ideas,” Gerwig said. “I can’t really speak to it yet because it’s early days, but it’s a very exciting prospect.”

Greta Gerwig is seen on set of 'Barbie' having conversations with each of the movie's star

Greta Gerwig is seen on set of 'Barbie' having conversations with each of the movie's star

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The movie follows the beloved doll after she “gets kicked out of Barbieland because she’s not perfect enough, a bit eccentric and doesn’t fit in. She then goes on an adventure in the real world and by the time she returns to Barbieland to save it, she has gained the realization that perfection comes on the inside, not the outside,” according to an early plot description published by Deadline.

Barbie also learns that the “key to happiness is belief in oneself, free of the obligation to adhere to some unattainable standard of perfection.”

RELATED VIDEO: Eva Mendes Reacts to Ryan Gosling’s First Character Photo from Barbie Movie: ‘That’s My Ken’

Robbie previously expressed her excitement about the role to PEOPLE. “I think it’s a great opportunity to put some positivity out in the world and a chance to be aspirational for younger kids,” she said in 2019.

Barbie is set to premiere July 21, 2023.