While I am in no way /Film’s resident “Barbie” expert, I know enough to assert that Ken has had various hairdos in his animated film appearances over the years. In particular, his wavy fringes in “Toy Story 3” bring to mind a young Robert Redford circa “The Sting” or even “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” It would seem that Gosling, “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig, and her creative team initially had something similar in mind for the character’s live-action debut, too.
“I had this almost Redford wig, they called it,” Gosling told Variety in an extensive post-Oscar nominations profile. It wasn’t working for him, though. “I looked at the screen test, and I thought it wasn’t Ken. I looked like I worked at Shutters or something,” the actor continued. Instead, he found what he was looking for in another acting legend: Jennifer Jason Leigh. I’ll let Gosling take it from here:
“I thought, ‘Ken is “Single White Female”-ing Barbie.’ So he would try to dye his hair, even though he can’t dye his hair. I thought, ‘I should bleach my hair, but it should be an off version of hers.'”
That’s a pretty darn perfect psychological breakdown of Ken in “Barbie,” which just further goes to show how much Gosling was born to play this role. His bleached ‘do also helped Gosling get back into the mindset of his early days as a child star, which he’s previously admitted was an essential part of his acting process on the film. “What was weird was I ended up looking like I did at eight or 12, which was the era I was revisiting anyway,” he observed.
Perhaps it actually was his destiny to live and die a life of blonde fragility after all.