The Reason Matt Bomer Turned Down The Role Of Ken

With multiple Barbie and Ken roles to fill, the movie’s production team approached a number of high-profile performers about appearing in the film. Vanity Fair also spoke with Lucy Bevan and Allison Jones, who were responsible for the movie’s casting, and they revealed that actors like Bowen Yang (“Saturday Night Live”), Dan Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”), and Ben Platt (“Theater Camp”) all had to turn down Ken roles because of the film’s restrictive production schedule. The six major Ken roles were ultimately filled by Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Ncuti Gatwa, Scott Evans, and John Cena. Likewise, Jonathan Groff had to pass on the role of Ken’s friend Allan, a part that eventually went to Michael Cera.

According to Jones, actors flocked to the film out of a desire to work with director Greta Gerwig, and she was very involved in the casting process. Bevan says “She really wanted to get to know them as people. That was very important to her. On the key Barbie and Ken roles, she got a very good idea of what an actor was like from talking to them.”

With award season fast approaching and many of 2023’s would-be releases delayed because of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, it would seem that “Barbie” actors are in a good position to score some of the industry’s most prestigious acting nominations. But will Ryan Gosling’s performance be Kenough to beat out a competitive field for Best Supporting Actor? We’ll find out in 2024.

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