Ryan Gosling says his house was filled with an “avalanche” of Barbie merchandise before he ended up playing Ken.
The ‘Drive’ actor, 42, who has daughters Esmeralda, seven, and Amada, five, with his actress wife Eva Mendes, 49, is playing Barbie’s airhead boyfriend in Greta Gerwig’s new ‘Barbie’ film alongside Margot Robbie, 33, in the title role, and he said he felt he became the character as soon as he found one of his kids’ Ken dolls abandoned in their garden.
He said at the European premiere of the film at London’s Cineworld in Leicester Square: “All things Barbie landed in my house at the same time – Barbie the doll and also the film.
“It was just sort of like a Barbie avalanche, I had to reckon with it.
“I just one day picked up a Ken doll in the backyard – and the next moment, I was him.”
Director Greta, 39, who co-wrote the film with her filmmaker partner Noah Baumbach, 53, admitted at the premiere the project had sent on an emotional rollercoaster.
She added: “It’s so exciting but I also feel this ever-present wave of like, ‘Oh no, I’m going to cry’, and then I’m like, ‘Don’t cry, it’s only amazing.’
“But it is – it’s a lot… it’s incredible, but it’s a lot of energy.”
Greta added Barbie creator Mattel was a joy to work with, saying: “I honestly can’t believe they let us make this movie, but they were really brave and they really allowed us to have creative freedom with their beloved brands.”
Ryan has said his Ken character would relate to his childhood self, who was famously captured in a dancing contest and was part of the Disney Channel’s ‘Mickey Mouse Club’.
He told GQ about empathising with the Ken doll he found chucked away by his daughters: “I did see him, like, face down in the mud outside one day, next to a squished lemon, and it was like, this guy’s story does need to be told, you know?”
He added: “There’s something about this Ken that really, I think, relates to that version of myself. Just, like, the guy that was putting on Hammer pants and dancing at the mall and smelling like Drakkar Noir and Aqua Net-ing bangs.
“I owe that kid a lot. I feel like I was very quick to distance myself from him when I started making more serious films. But the reality is that, like, he’s the reason I have everything I have.”
Ryan thinks he has given his version of Ken as much of a story as possible, saying: “Ken –his job is beach. For 60 years, his job has been beach. What the f*** does that even mean?… and everyone was fine with that, for him to have a job that is nothing.
“But suddenly, it’s like, ‘No, we’ve cared about Ken this whole time.’ No, you didn’t. You never did. You never cared.
“Barbie never f***** with Ken. That’s the point. If you ever really cared about Ken, you would know that nobody cared about Ken.
“So your hypocrisy is exposed. This is why his story must be told. I care about this dude now. I’m like his representative: ‘Ken couldn’t show up to receive this award, so I’m here to accept it for him.’ ”