No shirt, no “Barbie.”
The star-studded “Barbie” auditions had one strict rule: Don’t take yourself too seriously, and please, keep your shirt on, according to co-casting directors Allison Jones and Lucy Bevan. The duo shared with Motion Pictures.org that a slew of A-listers auditioned to play various Ken characters, who were notably portrayed by Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, and more onscreen in the Greta Gerwig-directed film.
“Huge actors went on tape with only seeing a few pages of dialogue,” Jones said, adding that since “everybody was Barbie in the script,” Jones and Bevan had to send tapes to Gerwig to identify different talents for Barbies and Kens.
“She really made the characters for who she liked best in different auditions,” Jones said, citing the “beach off” Ken played by Liu and President Barbie portrayed by Issa Rae. “The thing that Greta did always stress was that none of these people were sarcastic or winking at the camera. They were really Kens and Barbies.”
Bevan added, “There were certain scenes we used to audition, and the fine line between the comedy and sincerity of those characters is a difficult balance. Some of the Kens would take off their t-shirts, and we were like, no, no, you don’t need to take off your t-shirt. But Simu (Liu) just nailed that (line) in the film.”
As for the actors like Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, and Gal Gadot who infamously were not able to appear in “Barbie,” Bevan said it wasn’t for lack of trying.
“It’s rather a boring reason, actually,” Bevan explained. “On a movie like this, it was a hugely ambitious shoot and a complicated schedule, and you can have brilliant ideas, and people’s availability either does or doesn’t work.”
Writer-director Gerwig shared that “Little Women” and “Lady Bird” stars Ronan and Chalamet were going to have “specialty cameos” until they ultimately couldn’t participate in the film.
“Both of them couldn’t do it and I was so annoyed. But I love them so much,” Gerwig said of the scheduling conflicts. “But it felt like doing something without my children. I mean, I’m not their mom, but I sort of feel like their mom.”
“Barbie,” which is based on the Mattel dolls, has recently been banned in Algeria due to promoting “homosexuality and other Western deviances.” The film is currently under review by Lebanese Culture Ministry censors for queer themes. “Barbie” was not released in Vietnam over a “nine-dash map” dispute over Chinese land rulings.