Ryan Gosling Defends His Ken Casting: “Nobody Cared About Ken” Before
She’s Barbie, and he’s just Ken. In a new interview, Ryan Gosling is defending his casting as Ken in the upcoming “Barbie” movie, which some viewers have complained about, particularly relating to Gosling’s age. In a profile published by GQ on May 31, Gosling made several points when asked about the controversy. “The Notebook” star first said, “I would say, you know, if people don’t want to play with my Ken, there are many other Kens to play with.” (The movie does, literally, have other Kens, including one played by Simu Liu.)
But Gosling brought it up again later, with a more strongly worded defense. “It is funny, this kind of clutching-your-pearls idea of, like, #notmyken. Like you ever thought about Ken before this?” As Gosling has noted, Ken’s job is “beach.” He’s an accessory for Barbie, not a whole person on his own.
“And everyone was fine with that, for him to have a job that is nothing,” he explained. “But suddenly, it’s like, ‘No, we’ve cared about Ken this whole time.’ No, you didn’t. You never did. You never cared. Barbie never f*cked with Ken. That’s the point. If you ever really cared about Ken, you would know that nobody cared about Ken. So your hypocrisy is exposed. This is why his story must be told.”
Gosling laughed as he explained his passion for the character, saying, “I care about this dude now. I’m like his representative. ‘Ken couldn’t show up to receive this award, so I’m here to accept it for him.'”
“Ken’s got no money, he’s got no job, he’s got no car, he’s got no house. He’s going through some stuff.”
Gosling also told GQ that Ken really “relates” to the actor’s younger self. “Just, like, the guy that was putting on Hammer pants and dancing at the mall and smelling like Drakkar Noir and Aqua Net-ing bangs,” he explained. “I owe that kid a lot. I feel like I was very quick to distance myself from him when I started making more serious films. But the reality is that, like, he’s the reason I have everything I have.”
In the lead-up to the film’s release this July, Gosling has been vocal about why he was so drawn to playing Ken and what he thinks about the plastic icon now. In July 2022, he told Jimmy Fallon during an episode of “The Tonight Show” that after he read the script, “I walk out in the backyard and, do you know where I found Ken, Jimmy? Face down in the mud next to a squished lemon.” He texted a photo of his daughter‘s sad Ken doll to director Greta Gerwig and wrote, “I shall be your Ken, for this story must be told.”
That same month, while promoting “The Gray Man” (in which he played an assassin on the run from the CIA), Gosling told Entertainment Tonight, “That Ken life is even harder than the ‘Gray Man’ life, I think.” He continued, “Ken’s got no money, he’s got no job, he’s got no car, he’s got no house. He’s going through some stuff.”
Earlier this May, Gosling told Vogue, “Ken wasn’t really on my bucket list. But in fairness, I don’t have a bucket list. So I thought I’d give it a shot.” He told the outlet, “It would be very un-Ken of me to talk about Ken,” but did share that Margot Robbie, who plays the main Barbie, would leave him different Ken gifts every day.
In many ways, Gosling’s Ken will remain a mystery until the movie premieres – thought we do know he has a song on the “Barbie” soundtrack titled “I’m Just Ken.” It might just be the song of the summer.