On “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” Gosling shared “the strange omen” that finally made him accept the role of Ken. He discovered a Ken doll face-down in the mud alongside a squashed lemon in his backyard, abandoned from where his two young daughters had been playing. Gosling texted the sad tableau to Greta Gerwig, declaring, “I shall be your Ken, for his story must be told.”
Despite his initial reservations, Gosling proved to be a perfect fit for the role of Ken, and his Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination is well-deserved. Although he cut his acting teeth on intense indie dramas like “Drive” and “Half Nelson,” he also brings a theatrical flair and sharp humor to some of his lighter roles. This versatility stems from his background as a competitive dancer, where he was plucked from his small Canadian town to join “The All-New Mickey Mouse Club.” He showcased his song-and-dance abilities in the classic Hollywood musical homage “La La Land.”
“I’ve always thought of him as a secretly comedic actor. His comedy goes back to taking it incredibly seriously as an actor, where he never is doing it just for the laugh,” Gerwig observed to Rolling Stone, completely nailing what makes Ryan Gosling so great as Ken. Gosling has that very specific theatre-kid sensibility, or “Ken-ergy,” where the humor comes from not being afraid to go big, to fully commit and be seriously invested in the given circumstances — no matter how off-the-wall or silly they may be. Gerwig’s instincts were spot-on in recognizing that only Ryan Gosling could bring this role to life, and thankfully, he eventually agreed to take on the part.