Warner Bros. have leaked the first photograph of Ryan Gosling dolled up as ‘Ken’ for his role in the forthcoming Barbie movie.
Now, we don’t know about you but we always thought of Ken as more of a mousey-brown-haired dude rather than an extreme peroxided blonde. Then again an extensive history on the himbo doll shows him in various looks from blonde to brunette. And we certainly don’t recall him looking like a creepier version of ‘Kel’ from hit Aussie comedy series, Kath & Kim.
But take a look at the first pic above. Those dumb-ass squinty eyes… the hair flopping to one side… that daggy double denim… and the desperate attempt to appear trendy (note how the ‘Ken’ logo on his undies waistband looks suspiciously like Calvin Klein’s). To us, it’s oh-so creepy Kel, doncha think?
The live-action Barbie movie also features Aussie actress Margot Robbie in the lead role, while joining Robbie and Gosling (in a fairly eclectic ensemble) are America Ferrera (Ugly Betty), Simu Liu, Kate McKinnon, Emma Mackey and Michael Cera. Oh, and Will Ferrell will play the CEO of a toy company, though we reckon he’d have made a better himbo doll.
Incidentally, Robbie is also serving as producer of the movie, with several critics pointing out that the whole thing could be a disastrous move for the actress who previously won an AACTA Award for her inspired role in ‘I, Tonya’.
At one point, Amy Schumer and Anne Hathaway were each considered for the lead role, but both bowed out – we assume due to risk to their credibility. In our book, Schumer would have made a better Barbie since she’d have injected some wit and irony to the part, but positing the more ‘serious’ acting likes of Robbie into the role has us thinking this could all look very wrong.
While there have been several animated movies based on the world’s most popular doll, this is the first live-action adaptation being made about Barbie.
Movies based on branded toys haven’t had much success in the past – critically speaking, that is. The LEGO Movie is probably the only exception, while the Toy Story franchise isn’t exactly focused on an individual brand.
Mattel, however, have insisted that their movie go ahead, and is attempting to turn their Barbie pic into something even the pickiest of cinephiles might like to watch.
Going by the negative response to Baz Luhrmann’s recent over-the-top take on Elvis’ life, something tells us Barbie is going to be nit-picked aplenty and thrown aside as superficial trash, too.
But we’ll have to wait and see.
Lisa Andrews & Antonino Tati
‘Barbie’ is slated for release July 2023.