How “SNL” Costume Designer Tom Broecker Recreated Barbenheimer for Ryan Gosling’s Sensational Monologue

It’s the week of April 13th and on the call sheet to host the 17th episode of SNL’s 49th season is Ryan Gosling, an actor who’s been capturing the hearts of hopeless romantics since The Notebook. The Canadian’s filmography is a treasure trove of unforgettable performances, from Blue Valentine, Drive, The Big Short, La La Land, and Blade Runner 2049; Gosling has pretty much established his own Hollywood Walk of Fame. But for obvious reasons, let’s not overlook Barbie, where his magnetic charm captured a new generation of fans (and critics) with a supporting role that bagged him his third Oscar nomination.

(L-R) RYAN GOSLING as Ken and MARGOT ROBBIE as Barbie in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BARBIE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Hosting for a third time since 2015, Gosling was at 30 Rockefeller Plaza promoting the action-comedy The Fall Guy, where during the hour-long episode, he would perform a showstopping monologue, appear in six hilarious live sketches as well as a digital exclusive dubbed Papyrus 2 that cleverly calls back a season 43 sketch where his character Steven has a pathological disdain for the Avatar title font.


Dressing Gosling for what would become a standout episode of the season was costume designer Tom Broecker and his wardrobe team, including co-costume designers Cristina Natividad and Ashley Dudek. Wednesday kicked off the strenuous week for the tight-knit behind-the-scenes crew, where a table read of roughly forty sketches is dwindled down to about fifteen. “The reading is normally divided into two sessions where we will do the first half, take a little break, and then do the second half,” notes Broecker, who has been part of SNL since 1994. “The show then gets chosen, and everyone scatters to break into their individual groups before we all come back and start talking about specific things. Like what the writer’s hopes, wishes, desires, and dreams are in terms of hair, makeup, and wardrobe.”

Broecker’s early focus was on the musical monologue that recreated the Barbenheimer phenomenon in glorious song and dance. The performance has Gosling playing piano before breaking out into an extravagant song and dance number that’s interrupted by The Fall Guy co-star Emily Blunt, who played the wife of the Atomic Bomb mastermind in Christopher Nolan’s biopic. The costume designer had to pin down the visuals of the sketch, which had cameos from Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein, and multiple background dancers.


“It just so happens that Ellen Mirojnick [costume designer on Oppenheimer] is a friend of mine, so the research on Oppenheimer was easy,” he says. “She gave the name of the person from whom she got that hat, which was in Los Angeles. We also talked to Universal, who has the Oppenheimer suit, and they were able to send us some really amazing pictures. And because it needed to be so specifically Oppenheimer, we ended up having a tailor in the city make the suits.”

The costume team sourced suits for the female dancers and another for Mikey Day, who filled in for Cillian Murphy’s Oppenheimer. Hats were also custom-made, boots hand-painted, and the smallest detail was not overlooked. “We were never going to find his belt buckle anywhere,” he says. “And our makeup artist Louie [Zakarian] has been 3D printing a lot of things we can’t find, so we gave him a picture of the buckle and the dimensions to 3D print them. Then Ashley [Dudek] and my other crew went in and painted them to look exactly like the Oppenheimer buckle.”

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE — Episode 1861 — Pictured: (l-r) Surprise guest Emily Blunt and host Ryan Gosling during the Monologue on Saturday, April 13, 2024 — (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC)

For the Barbie portion, the costume department found the exact pink and white checkered fabric and made dresses from it featuring a bow on the front. They also hand-painted and hand-dyed the pink shoes.

Another highlight moment of Gosling’s monologue is when he’s given his iconic Barbie coat to wear after playing the piano. “We did ask Universal if they had it, but it’s in a case somewhere, so we ended up having to make the coat. And in fact, we even made the Barbie lining on the inside,” says Broecker. To do so, the lining fabric was printed at a fabric shop to match the lining in the movie. Costumes also shaved part of the fur and highlighted it to give it a similar feel. Topping off the look, they also found the exact Saint Laurent sunglasses. “I feel like my team does such an amazing job recreating things to make it look exactly how it’s supposed to. I think so many times people think we just went out and bought it, but everything except for Ryan’s suit and Emily’s outfit was basically made,” Broecker continues. “My team knew that this was going to be such a big, big moment, and so they worked their asses off. And we do it all in about 36 hours.”

Episode 1861 — Pictured: Host Ryan Gosling during the Monologue on Saturday, April 13, 2024 — (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC)

Other costumes created for the episode included an alien-probing cold open that sees the return of Kate McKinnon wearing a quintessential mom outfit, replicating the cartoon misfits Beavis (Gosling) and Butt-Head (Mikey Day) set in a town hall backdrop, a medical procedure gone wrong with two high-fashion doctors, and a deleted scene from Erin Brockovich with Gosling and Chloe Fineman playing the entangled neighbors.


The mantra for costumes is that if it’s not part of their existing stock, they try to make it. Such is the case for Bowen Yang’s white leather trench coat that was made by a tailor in twelve hours for the doctor sketch. The same goes for Gosling’s leather scrubs that are covered in blood. “The thing about SNL, which is great, is there’s such collaboration between the actors and different departments. You can’t really separate the hair and the makeup from the costume. It’s all a unified whole.”


Saturday Night Live will air its 50th Anniversary season later this year. When asked if Broecker can share anything about it, he says, “I wish there were something to talk about. We are still in the abstract planning of the whole thing. And all I know and all I can really say is I think it’s going to be epic and amazing and interesting and incredibly hard to figure out how to distill 50 years of a TV program into 3.5 hours.”


Featured image: Ryan Gosling on “SNL.” Courtesy NBC.


Daron James

Daron is a veteran journalist, who has been writing about the film and television industry for over a decade.