In the weeks leading up to the long-awaited Barbie movie, Ryan Gosling has been injecting a lot of Ken-ergy into the atmosphere. After tagging alongside Margot Robbie’s Barbie on her adventure into the real world during the latest Barbie trailer, the actor is officially stumping for his often sidelined character.
A father to two daughters with Eva Mendes, Gosling partially credited his children for sparking his interest in channeling Ken. “I did see him, like, face down in the mud outside one day, next to a squished lemon,” Gosling says of the doll in his new GQ cover story, “and it was like, This guy’s story does need to be told, you know?” At another point in the piece, he declares: “Ken, his job is beach. For 60 years, his job has been beach. What the fuck does that even mean?”
Gosling, who says Ken’s characterization is also an homage to his younger self, also addresses the debate over whether at 42, he’s too old to play Ken. “I would say, you know, if people don’t want to play with my Ken, there are many other Kens to play with,” he says to GQ, referencing the other versions of Ken in Greta Gerwig’s live-action blockbuster (played by Simu Liu and Ncuti Gatwa, among others). “It is funny,” Gosling continues, “this kind of clutching-your-pearls idea of, like, #notmyken. Like you ever thought about Ken before this?”
Discourse over the doll evidently evokes an impassioned response from the actor. “And everyone was fine with that, for him to have a job that is nothing. 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 fucked 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.”
Laughing to the outlet, Gosling concludes, “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.’”
For what it’s worth, Barbie is also very much on Ken’s side. Robbie recently told British Vogue that Ken is “the greatest version of Ryan Gosling ever put on screen,” while Gerwig teased an existential arc for the plastic himbo. “The Kens have a journey in front of them,” she explained. “In the beginning of the movie, nobody thinks about Ken. Nobody worries about Ken. Ken doesn’t have a house. Or a car. Or a job. Or any power. And, um, that is gonna be sort of unsustainable.”
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