The playfully risqué lyrics of Aqua's "Barbie Girl" will not be on the soundtrack of Greta Gerwig's upcoming Barbie film, but the Danish-Norwegian Europop band is excited for the film nonetheless.
In a Variety interview published Monday, lead vocalist Lene Nystrøm said that using the group's 1997 hit — which turns 25 this year, along with Aqua's debut album, Aquarium — in the film starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling would be too on-the-nose, or "cheese on cheese."
"I totally understand why they didn't use it," Nystrøm said, "but it's going to bring us a lot of attention, no matter what." Keyboardist Søren Rasted, on the other hand, joked about an alternative narrative: "We should say we turned it down. Ryan Gosling is not good enough!"
"Barbie Girl" became an international phenomenon in the late '90s, selling more than 1.4 million copies in the U.S. and topping the U.K. chart for a month. The song also came with some backlash, sparking criticism that it was an insult to feminism and prompting a trademark infringement lawsuit from Mattel. (The toy company ultimately lost the suit.)
"You had to watch what you were saying all the time, sometimes our words were twisted," Nystrøm said of the lawsuit.
In any case, Nystrøm's manager confirmed earlier this year that the song would not be featured in the Barbie film, which is due in theaters July 21, 2023. Along with Robbie and Gosling (playing Barbie and Ken), the film will feature America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Simu Liu, Issa Rae, Ncuti Gatwa, Michael Cera, and Will Ferrell.
Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros.(2) Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in 'Barbie'
"The aesthetic of the movie is just so vibrant and full of life," Liu told EW earlier this year. "Imagine showing up to that set every day with a bunch of friends, like, 'Great, cue the music!' We're dancing, and then you come out of a 12-hour day, and you're like, 'Did I really go to work today? Or did I just hang out with my friends?'"
He continued, "Everyone's like, 'What is this Barbie movie?' When people say 'Barbie movie,' they feel like they know what it's going to be like. But with every casting announcement and the announcement of Greta Gerwig, I think we've been raising a lot of eyebrows. But without giving away anything about the script, I'll just say that it's one of the best things I've ever read."