Ncuti Gatwa is in the new Barbie movie as Ken, but is he in it much? Should you grasp this opportunity to see the new Fifteenth Doctor in action early?
Sadly, he’s not in it an awful lot — at least, he doesn’t have loads of lines but he’s often in the background… or the foreground as a supporting Ken anyway.
It’s quite curious considering Gatwa said Barbie “reignited the fire”. He explained:
“I felt so much like an artist, which is how I wanted to feel. When I fell out of love with the industry, I got into a rut feeling like a product, or doing things just to further my career.”
Ncuti plays one of many Kens. Other Kens include Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Kingsley Ben-Adir (Secret Invasion), and Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings). Another familiar Doctor Who face is Andrew Leung, who plays a Mattel executive in Barbie, but who you might know from Dark Water.
Nonetheless, Gatwa seemed to enjoy his time on the Greta Gerwig-directed film. He said:
“I got to watch Will Ferrell improvising for four hours – it was magical. The things that came out of his mouth and off the top of his head were like nothing else on Earth. It felt so inspiring to be there. Madness.”
It’s doubly mad that Ncuti revealed he’d auditioned for a different role, but that part was rewritten, and Ncuti made (he estimates) 11 subsequent audition tapes. If you’ve seen Barbie, with its comparative paucity of Gatwa, you’ll find that baffling too.
Barbie has been a box-office smash, potentially egged on by the kooky meme/internet firestorm generated by its release on the same day as the Christopher Nolan film, Oppenheimer (a film I highly recommend). So ultimately, is Barbie worth watching for Gatwa alone? Nope, sorry…