Timothée Chalamet Was One of the Many Stars Who Was Almost in “Barbie”
We laughed when Barbie casting directors Allison Jones and Lucy Bevan described eager actors auditioning for the role of Ken removing their shirts unnecessarily while they read their lines for a scene where two Kens challenge each other. “Those scenes were fun to audition,” Bevan told us. “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.” The role of this one particularly challenging Ken (facing off against Ryan Gosling’s version) ultimately went to Simu Liu.
Such was the eagerness to join Greta Gerwig on her journey to turn the iconic Mattel doll (and her male sidekick, Ken) into flesh-and-blood characters that performers, many of them major stars, were ready to disrobe to be a part of it. Not all of those performers would have been auditioning; they just needed to make Barbie‘s shooting schedule work with their own schedules. One of those was Timothée Chalamet.
Gerwig revealed in an interview with Hollywood First Look that Chalamet had visited the film’s London set and was bummed he wasn’t able to be a part of the action. Chalamet was in Gerwig’s first two (excellent) directorial efforts, Lady Bird and Little Women. She told Cinemablend that she wanted both Chalamet and her other longtime collaborator and muse, Saoirse Ronan, to have cameos in Barbie, but neither could do it due to scheduling conflicts.
When Gerwig spoke with Hollywood First Look about the situation, she said, “I tried to get them both in it. They both couldn’t do it. Although Timothée did come by the set and then said, ‘I should have been in this,’ And I was like, ‘I know! Why aren’t you in this?’”
Ronan was working on filming and producing The Outrun, adapted from a memoir from the Scottish journalist and author Amy Liptrot.
Citing their scheduling conflicts, Gerwig admitted she was frustrated she couldn’t deploy her two go-to performers in her now historic film. “Both of them couldn’t do it, and I was so annoyed. But I love them so much. But it felt like doing something without my children. I mean, I’m not their mom, but I sort of feel like their mom.”
So, Chalamet and Ronan joined an illustrious list of big stars who wanted—but couldn’t—snag a role in Barbie. That list includes SNL star Bowen Yang, Schitt’s Creek Emmy winner Dan Levy, and Dear Evan Hansen Tony winner Ben Platt were all vying to play versions of Ken, but they, too, were foiled by scheduling conflicts. Before Michael Cera landed the plum role of playing Ken’s down-on-his-luck pal Allan, Jonathan Groff was interested.
You could easily imagine all these stellar actors in the film, and yet, the Barbie we got feels perfectly calibrated and cast. Gerwig’s Barbie is already the highest-grossing domestic release in Warners Bros. history and has a real shot at becoming their biggest release, period, ever. All those actors who thought, “Greta Gerwig is doing Barbie? I want in!” were right to trust their instincts.
Barbie is in theaters now.
For more on Barbie, check out these stories:
Featured image: NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 07: Director Greta Gerwig and actor Timothée Chalamet attend the “Little Women” World Premiere at Museum of Modern Art on December 07, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)