Some of Hollywood’s greatest casting moments have been the least expected, initially: Heath Ledger as the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight, or Matt Damon unveiling his inner bad-ass in the Bourne films. And a future addition to that list might be Ryan Gosling as Ken, the bleached-blond, mega-tanned doll who comes to life in Greta Gerwig’s upcoming Barbie.
The Oscar-nominated Gosling began actively discussing Ken and Barbie during last summer’s press tour for spy thriller The Gray Man, for good reason: Photos of his new “look” were then (and continue to be) instant viral moments, and no actor in recent memory has seemed to delight in talking about a project the way that Gosling talks about Barbie in the press.
Every time it comes up, in fact, Gosling’s quotes generate a whole wave of new interest across the internet, because Gosling seems to have formed quite an intense connection with his toy-inspired role, who he sees as an underdog figure. “If you ever really cared about Ken, you would know that nobody cared about Ken,” (as he told GQ in May 2023).
As Gosling says, Ken’s story must be told — and so must the story of Gosling talking about Ken. This article will be updated with whatever else Gosling might say in the future, as we all prepare for the arrival of “the Ken-aissance.”
“I Would Never Correct Barbie. I Would Never Dream of It”
Edited transcript, from “Ryan Gosling Teases ‘Barbie’ Movie, His ‘Kenergy’ and ‘The Gray Man’ Film (Exclusive)” (Entertainment Tonight, July 12th, 2022):
Lauren Zima: At one point, Chris’s character insults yours by calling you a Ken doll.
Ryan Gosling: Which is not an insult at all. It’s not. I’m proud of that. I have that Ken-energy — that he could feel, obviously, when he commented on it. And I still feel like the Ken-ergy is alive.
Zima: Can you explain the Ken-ergy for me?
Gosling: I can’t. I mean, did you know what I mean? No? You know a Ken in your life, and then you know that that Ken has Ken-ergy.
Zima: Well, it’s the Ken-aissance, per Eva Mendes. Did you love that she coined that term for you?
Gosling: I loved it. I loved it. I love that she’s got love for Ken. That means a lot to me.