“Barbie”: How Michael Cera Nabbed the Role of Allan (At the Last Second)

Sure, Greta Gerwig’s longtime collaborators Timothée Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan might not have been able to snag roles in Barbie (scheduling conflicts, unfortunately), but one actor who made sure he was available to get a plum part was Michael Cera. In fact, Certa, who plays the lonely, singular Allan, a doll introduced as Ken’s pal that was ultimately neglected and discontinued, managed to get his role at the last possible second.

“It was a kind of very last-minute casting,” Cera said in a video interview with GQ that was conducted before the actors’ strike. “My manager got a call checking on my availability for it, and he called me, and he said, ‘I got a call about this movie. It’s the Barbie movie. Greta Gerwig’s directing it, and it’s filming in London for four months of something, so I told them you probably wouldn’t want to do it because you probably don’t want to go to London.’”

Cera wanted to go to London. The seasoned actor wisely understood that you don’t pass up on a Greta Gerwig movie unless you absolutely cannot make it work in your schedule.

 “I was like, ‘What! Call them back!’ He didn’t like blow it or anything, but he’s like, ‘I managed their expectations that you might not want to do it.’ I was like, ‘How can I not do it? I need to do it!’” Cera said to GQ. 

Instead of waiting for the situation to be handled on his behalf, Cera got Gerwig’s email and asked her point blank if he could do the part.

“And she was like, ‘Let’s get on a Zoom right now. Here’s a Zoom link; I’ll be on there for the next hour,'” he told GQ. “So she was just hanging out on the Zoom, like, ‘Click the link whenever you’re ready.’ And then we talked about it, and it just all happened really fast from there.”

The Allan doll, according to Cera, was discontinued by Mattel because it wasn’t selling, and “the world just didn’t need for Ken to have a friend.” While there is a bounty of various Barbies in the world, Cera says that for Ken, Mattel decided, “We don’t need to go deeper in that direction. So Allan fell by the wayside a little bit.”

In Barbie, however, Allan gets his moment, and Cera is hilarious. Barbie itself, of course, is getting the last laugh. It’s already Warner Bros. highest-grossing domestic film of all time, and, if momentum holds, it will likely become the highest-grossing film, period, in Warners Bros. history.

For Cera’s full interview, check it out here:

For more on Barbie, check out these stories:

Barbie” Hair & Makeup Artist Ivana Primorac Conjures Personality From Plastic

Pretty in Pink With “Barbie” Production Designer Sarah Greenwood & Set Decorator Katie Spencer

“Barbie” Tops “The Dark Knight” as Warner Bros. Highest-Grossing Domestic Release in History

“Barbie” Casting Directors Allison Jones And Lucy Bevan on Populating Barbie Land

Featured image: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 25: Michael Cera attends the press junket and photo call For “Barbie” at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on June 25, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)


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The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.