The premiere of Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” is still a year away, and yet Ryan Gosling has found a way to turn every press appearance into an excuse to wax poetic about his upcoming role as the plastic boy-toy Ken.
In an appearance this week on “The Tonight Show,” Gosling was eager (“Ken-ergetic,” maybe) to discuss the never-before-heard tale of how his casting as Ken was fated.
As Gosling tells it, some time ago, director Gerwig offered Gosling the part of Ken. The script was the “best … [he’d] ever read,” he told host Jimmy Fallon, but he wanted to take a moment and consider the decision in the fresh air.
When he walked into his backyard, he received a sign from the universe: An otherwise-pristine, shirtless Ken doll, facedown in the mud next to a “squished lemon,” Gosling said.
The future Ken snapped a photo of the affecting scene, perhaps a sign from the universe, and texted it to Gerwig.
“I said, ‘I shall be your Ken. For his story must be told,’” Gosling told Fallon.
And though the film recently wrapped, Gosling is continuing to name-drop his beloved Mattel character wherever he goes, even when he’s promoting his other projects, and he defends Ken fiercely against detractors.
“I was surprised how some people were kind of clutching their pearls about my Ken, as if they ever thought about Ken for a second before this!” Gosling said, pointing a faux-angry, accusatory finger. “They never played with Ken!”
Then the conversation turned bleak and existential: “Nobody plays with Ken, man,” Gosling lamented. “He’s an accessory, and not even one of the cool ones.”
This isn’t the first time Gosling has considered the failings of Ken’s seemingly plush life. In an interview earlier this month with Entertainment Tonight, Gosling said that life in plastic is much harder than the life of the fictional mercenary he plays in Netflix’s “The Gray Man.”
“Ken’s got no money, he’s got no job, he’s got no car, he’s got no house,” Gosling said in the earlier interview. “He’s going through some stuff.”
But the “Barbie” film will be much more fun than Gosling’s devastating descriptions of Ken make it out to be, he assured Fallon this week.
“Those are not plot details; those are just objective facts about Ken,” he said. “That’s the Ken life.”
Until “Barbie” hits theaters in July 2023, we can just hope the universe will continue to guide Gosling to wedge Ken into all his interviews for the foreseeable future.