Margot Robbie‘s Barbie has found her Ken. Ryan Gosling has been confirmed for the male lead in the film version of Mattel’s popular toy, which will be directed by Greta Gerwig.
Per Deadline, Gosling was Warner Bros.’ first and only choice for Ken, but he reportedly turned the role down when he was first approached for it. He’s since changed his mind, despite previously being known to turn down most offers for roles in big budget Hollywood films.
With Gosling now on board, perhaps the long-gestating project can finally get moving. A Barbie film has been discussed since 2009, and previously had Anne Hathaway and Amy Schumer attached to star at various points, with scripts written by Diablo Cody and then Hilary Winston.
Those versions of the film were back when Sony held the rights, before Warner Bros. entered a deal with Mattel in January 2019. Patty Jenkins was rumoured to direct once the rights changed studios, before Gerwig came on board to adapt a script she’s written alongside her husband Noah Baumbach.
Gerwig’s involvement will likely mean a film that’s more subversive and interesting than a mainstream Barbie film otherwise would be, and she should get plenty of support from Robbie, who is also producing under her LuckyChap Entertainment production company, who were behind this year’s Oscar-nominated hit Promising Young Woman.
So although it’s easy to see something like a Barbie film – or any project involving Mattel Films – as an easy Hollywood cash grab, the involvement of Robbie, Gerwig and now Gosling is very encouraging, and will hopefully turn one of the world’s most famous toys into an interesting film.
The only other project Gosling currently has in the works is Netflix’s The Gray Man. That’s another big budget film that will also star Chris Evans and be directed by Avengers: Endgame filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo, so perhaps Gosling’s previous stance about avoiding large Hollywood productions has softened.
Production on Barbie is expected to begin in early 2022 in London, with a likely 2023 release date in the works.