Ryan Gosling has played a lot of tragic characters in his lengthy acting career. He was a stunt driver unable to flee a vicious life of crime in “Drive”, a drug-dependent history teacher in Half “Nelson” and a bereaved father who travels to the moon in “First Man.” But none of these stories can compare to the tragic and haunting backstory of his most recent performance as Barbie’s boyfriend’s.
One of the most damaged and ignored men in history, Ken, appears in the upcoming Barbie film. And the Oscar-nominated actor’s decision to take on what may be his most challenging portrayal to date was prompted by this precise awareness. There is an emotional backstory hidden behind the denim-heavy, viral photographs of Ryan Gosling dressed as a toy.
Gosling recently made an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He said that while the first pictures of him in the role generated a lot of buzz, nobody had ever shown genuine interest in Ken. But there was one particular instance of negligence on Ken’s part that drove Gosling to challenge Barbie.
He thought about his choice while taking a walk in his yard after receiving a call from the director Greta Gerwig asking him to join the movie. He came across a Ken doll laying in the mud, a disturbing sight full of symbolism.
I was surprised how, you know, some people were clutching their pearls at my Ken as though they ever thought about Ken for a second before this. They never played with Ken. Nobody plays with Ken, man. He’s an accessory and not even one of the cool ones. I walk out in the backyard and you know where I found Ken, Jimmy? Facedown in the mud next to a squished lemon. I texted it to Greta and I said, ‘I shall be your Ken, for his story must be told.’
Jimmy then shared Ryan’s photograph of the Ken doll lying in the mud, which had the unsettling quality of a crime scene photograph. Funny enough, this is his second leading role in a movie with a moving doll story. Despite the fact that Barbie boasts the “greatest script” Ryan Gosling has ever read, the actor appeared on the show to promote his high-profile Netflix action movie Barbie.
What are your thoughts on this story? Sound off in the comments!