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Ryan Gosling’s Vulnerable Performance as Ken: Unveiling the Emotional Side of ‘Barbie’

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Ken sings in "Barbie" movie 2023

It’s time to move over Princess Peach, because Ken is here to steal the 1980s power-ballad spotlight. Ryan Gosling, who stars in the upcoming “Barbie” movie, recently released a music video for the film, showcasing his vulnerability and insecurities as Ken. In the video for “I’m Just Ken,” Gosling questions his place as Barbie’s second-fiddle and wonders if he’s destined to live a life of blond fragility. The teaser sets the stage for Ken’s narrative arc in the movie, as he becomes the unexpected emotional center after grappling with toxic masculinity.

Accompanied by other actors who portray different versions of Ken in the film, including Simu Liu, Scott Evans, Ncuti Gatwa, and Kingsley Ben-Adir, Gosling playfully ponders what it will take for Barbie to see beyond his tan and recognize the man within. The song culminates with Ken menacingly shouting threats about Malibu Beach. Greta Gerwig, the film’s director, praised Gosling’s ability to bring gravitas to the heartfelt and humorous moments.

Written by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, the song “I’m Just Ken” features the guitar skills of Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, as revealed by soundtrack producer Mark Ronson. The track is part of the movie’s soundtrack, which also includes original songs from Grammy-winning artists Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Charli XCX, and Dua Lipa. Additionally, Gosling delivers a straight-faced rendition of Matchbox 20’s hit “Push,” while Margot Robbie, a producer on the film, pushed to incorporate a version of Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” into the movie. A remix called “Barbie World” was released last month, featuring hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj and rapper Ice Spice.

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During the pink-carpet premiere of “Barbie” in Los Angeles, Gosling donned a pale pink Gucci suit and wore a gold necklace with an “E” pendant, paying tribute to his longtime girlfriend Eva Mendes. He explained that Mendes and their two daughters had a significant influence on his work in the film, emphasizing the synergy between his personal life and the storytelling of director Greta Gerwig. Mendes, who publicly expressed her admiration for Gosling’s portrayal of Ken, even wore a “Ryan Gosling is Ken” T-shirt in an Instagram post.

With Gosling’s commitment to the role and the profound connections to his personal life, it’s clear that “Barbie” holds a special significance for him. As the film explores themes of identity and self-discovery, Gosling fully embraced the opportunity to bring Ken’s story to life. The combination of heartfelt storytelling and Gosling’s charismatic performance promises to captivate audiences and make “Barbie” an unforgettable cinematic experience.

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