Ryan Gosling is blond, tanned and toned in 1st-look photo as Ken in 'Barbie' movie

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·4-min read

Ryan Gosling has morphed into Ken for the live-action Barbie movie — with his name on his undies to prove it.

The first look of the actor as the muscular mate of the most famous toy in the world was released on social media by Warner Bros. Pictures on Wednesday. "#BARBIE July 21, 2023 Only in theaters" was the caption.

But the caption didn't matter — as the photo is really everything. The Notebook star has apparently gone all in for the role with platinum-blond hair, a spray tan and of course ripped abs and arms. He posed leaning up against what looks like the frame of Barbie's dream house wearing a denim-on-denim ensemble featuring an ab-exposing, unbuttoned and sleeveless vest with the band of his monogrammed white underwear showing above his pant line.

Ryan Gosling as Ken in the 2023 Barbie film. (Photo: Warner Bros. Picture)
Ryan Gosling as Ken in the 2023 Barbie film. (Photo: Warner Bros. Picture)

Gosling's expression — a slight smile with mouth seemingly shaded with Barbie's favorite lip color — shows he's thrown himself into the role, and clearly having fun bringing the plastic icon to life.

The film is being directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Greta Gerwig (Little Women, Lady Bird) with a screenplay co-written with her partner, Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale). Margot Robbie plays Barbie herself — and the first glimpse of her in the role was shared in April as she posed in a pink convertible.

Other members of the star-studded cast Kate McKinnon, America Ferrera, Simu Liu, Issa Rae, Will Ferrell, Rhea Perlman and Michael Cera.

While the plot details are still under wraps, Robbie has promised that it won't be what people expect.

"People immediately have an idea of, 'Oh, Margot is playing Barbie, I know what that is,'" she told the Hollywood Reporter. "But our goal is to be like, 'Whatever you’re thinking, we’re going to give you something totally different — the thing you didn’t know you wanted.'"

Liu told GQ U.K. in May that the film is "wild" and "unique," adding, "I wish I could just show you what we do day to day because it’s crazy." The actor — who took dance lessons for the project, but noted it's not a musical — said he was turned on to the film after his agent called it one of the best scripts he’s ever read. "He literally said this verbatim. He was like, 'If I could stake my career on any one script, it’s the Barbie script. I really think you should do it.'"

As for reaction to this first photo of Gosling as Ken, Gosling's wife, actress Eva Mendes, is into it.

"So. F. Funny. So. F. Good. So F excited for you to see this…" she wrote with the hashtag "That's my Ken."

The official Barbie account is also in love with the transformation — with a blue heart subbing for the "o" in love to prove it.

(Screenshot: Warner Bros. Pictures via Instagram)
(Screenshot: Warner Bros. Pictures via Instagram)

Fellow Canadian Liu commented, "Ooooooh Canada."

There otherwise seems to be a general liking of the casting, via comments on Twitter and Instagram.

(Screenshot: Warner Bros. Pictures via Instagram)
(Screenshot: Warner Bros. Pictures via Instagram)
(Screenshot: Warner Bros. Pictures via Instagram)
(Screenshot: Warner Bros. Pictures via Instagram)

There is definitely skepticism along with anticipation, which makes sense because we're talking about an Oscar nominee bringing a plastic doll to life on the big screen.

(Screenshot: Warner Bros. Pictures via Instagram)
(Screenshot: Warner Bros. Pictures via Instagram)
(Screenshot: Warner Bros. Pictures via Instagram)
(Screenshot: Warner Bros. Pictures via Instagram)

The public discussion includes back-and-forth about whether Gosling at 41 is too old to be Ken to 31-year-old Robbie's Barbie.

While others are just reminding everyone to trust Gerwig.

(Screenshot: Warner Bros. Pictures via Instagram)
(Screenshot: Warner Bros. Pictures via Instagram)

The film doesn't come out for an entire year, so the debate is just getting started.

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