Margot Robbie’s Barbie legs were made using practical effects

Kayla Harrington
barbie and ken singing in car

The giant legs seen at the beginning of the Barbie movie turn out to be replicas of Margot Robbie’s actual legs using practical effects.

It’s safe to say that Greta Gerwig’s sparkly masterpiece Barbie has become the movie of the year as it demolished its box office earning predictions to become the number one movie in the world.

While there’s so much to love about this movie from the stellar performances to the gorgeous costumes, one of the most impressive aspects of the film are its set design and the use of practical effects for most of it instead of traditional CGI.

Recently, it was revealed that one of most iconic shots in the movie was created using an impressive amount of practical effects.

Robbie’s real legs were used for Barbie’s opening shot

The beginning of Barbie shows a sequence that pays homage to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, where Barbie appears in a desert wasteland to give little girls something else to play with besides baby dolls.

The shot shows Margot Robbie as a giant Barbie and one of the little girls walk up to touch her legs that appear to be thousands of feet tall.

However, New York Times reporter Kyle Buchanan has revealed in a tweet that the film’s crew actually built a pair of legs based on Robbie’s real ones stating. Buchanan spoke to production designer Sarah Greenwood who stated: “They’re real — we scaled up Margot’s legs and made them. They were physically on that set so the little girls could come in and touch them.”

Margot Robbie as Barbie and a tweet describing the movie's practical effects

Besides Robbie’s Barbie legs, the movie made use of a lot of practical effects including the sequences of Barbie (Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling) leaving Barbieland.

To leave Barbieland, the pair had to drive and ride on a boat, bike, rocket ship, and snow mobile. According to Screen Rant, Barbie and Ken’s vehicle was stationary so, to create the illusion of motion, the crew used conveyor belt tools to move the background and foreground elements, which is usually a technique used in stage plays.

Additionally, all sets were built by hand instead of with CGI, including the outer space scene because Gerwig Gerwig wanted the various locations to look like they came from a diorama box instead of being digitally created, so a lot of the items used in the scenes (the stars, flowers, etc) were hung with wires or string.

These practical effects added to the magic and whimsy that Barbie pulled off flawlessly, so it’s no wonder why the movie has been able to reach audiences of all ages.

Barbie is now playing in theaters. Check out our other coverage about the film below: