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Can Lena Dunham Do for 'Polly Pocket' What Greta Gerwig Did for 'Barbie'?

By Emily Richardson | Film | July 27, 2023 |

By Emily Richardson | Film | July 27, 2023 |


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Back in 2018, Mattel set up their own film division, the creatively titled “Mattel Films”. Since then, they’ve announced their plans to make a bunch of movies based on their toys and games: a film about the card game Uno, a “surrealistic” A24-style Barney movie with Daniel Kaluuya, a JJ Abrams-produced feature about Hot Wheels, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots with Vin Diesel, and more. Yesterday, Variety published an interview with Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz and the head of Mattel Films, Robbie Brenner, to talk about their ambition to “create film franchises.” Mattel Films currently has 14 projects in development and another 45 (!!!) waiting in the wings. Welp, sounds like we’re getting another cinematic universe

Now that Barbie is a massive hit, it’s time to talk about the other live-action flick about a retro blonde doll (albeit one that’s much, much smaller and easier to lose): Polly Pocket! We first heard about the Polly Pocket movie in 2021. Lena Dunham was announced as the writer and director, and Emily in Paris’ Lily Collins was cast as the titular teeny tiny choking hazard.

Currently, the family comedy Polly Pocket seems to be the furthest along of the upcoming Mattel movies. Unlike Barbie, which had major cast shake-ups in pre-production, Lily Collins is still attached to star. Robbie Brenner says that Lena has written the script, and it’s “great”:

“First of all, they are two of my favorite ladies ever,” Brenner says of Collins and Dunham. “It’s been an amazing collaboration. Lena is so collaborative and rolls up her sleeves and really likes to roll around in notes and listen. She’s incredible. Lily is so smart and so specific and so productorial. It’s just been an incredible collaboration, so we are thrilled about it. Hopefully, we’ll be making that at some point in the future.”

Back when it was first announced, Lena said she was excited to make the movie because she thought “young women need smart playful films that speak to them without condescension.” At the time, the plot was about Polly Pocket forming a friendship with a human girl. So … Life-Size (2000) starring Tyra Banks and Lindsay Lohan? Except … smaller?

Since Girls ended in 2017, Lena Dunham’s projects have been hit or miss. Her second TV show, 2018’s Camping, was a flop. It was later revealed that Lena left the show mid-production to go to rehab. The same year, she (rightly) got a lot of shit for publicly defending Girls writer/producer Murray Miller after actress Aurora Perrineau accused him of raping her at a party when she was 17. The whole thing was a mess. For the next few years, Lena kinda-sorta laid low. Until 2022, when she wrote and directed two films: the meh-ly received sex comedy, Sharp Stick, and the critically lauded medieval YA adaptation, Catherine Called Birdy. OK, so Lena managed to make a good movie about a headstrong young girl. Now, can she do it again? But, this time, with the addition of a miniature plastic doll? Only time will tell …