Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie is overflowing with Ken-ergy, thanks in large part to its star-studded cast, which includes Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, and Kingsley Ben-Adir as various Kens. For a handful of actors, though, the dream of portraying Barbie’s “long-term, long-distance, low-commitment, casual” boyfriend on screen was just out of reach: in an interview with Vanity Fair on July 20, casting director Allison Jones revealed the names of three actors who, unfortunately, had to turn down supporting roles as Ken in the film.
Due to COVID-19 restraints, the cast and crew were required to spend three months in London, where a large part of the film was shot. Ultimately, the logistics of the filming process resulted in scheduling conflicts that pushed Bowen Yang, Dan Levy, and Ben Platt out of the running to play Ken. “They were, I’m not kidding, really bummed they couldn’t do it,” Jones said.
Even the role of Allan, who many have deemed the unsung hero of “Barbie,” was originally intended to go to another actor: Jonathan Groff. “Dear, dear Jonathan Groff was like, ‘I can’t believe I’m typing this, but I can’t do Allan,” Jones said, also citing scheduling conflicts. Though it would have been fun to see the Broadway veteran add his own spin to the previously forgotten doll, the internet seems to agree that Michael Cera did the character justice. “Allan is easily the best character in the Barbie movie,” one Twitter user wrote.
Nicola Coughlan, who plays Diplomat Barbie, also previously revealed that she nearly had to miss out on the Barbieland experience due to her busy work schedule. With some encouragement from Gerwig, though, Coughlan managed to secure a smaller — but still memorable — role in the movie. “When I was asked if I wanted to pop into Barbieland even briefly my answer was an immediate, and very emphatic yes,” she wrote on Instagram.
At this point, we may need a “Barbie” sequel to make up for all the celebrities whose schedules conflicted with filming. In the meantime, you can catch us singing along to the “Barbie” soundtrack all summer long.
“Barbie” is currently in theaters.