Matt Bomer revealed to Vanity Fair that he sent in a self-taped audition to play one of the many iterations of Ken in Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster comedy “Barbie,” but he ultimately decided not to join the movie so he could prioritize spending time with his family. He was offered a shot at auditioning and was interested in the project enough to send a self tape to Gerwig and the casting directors.
“I recorded it on my own, played a bunch of different Kens—and I dressed differently for all of them,” Bomer said. “I recorded the lines of the other person’s dialogue on my recorder and then gave myself space to respond.”
Per Vanity Fair: “He then spoke with director Greta Gerwig about joining the blockbuster, but ultimately walked away from the opportunity, choosing not to spend extensive time away from his family.”
Bomer is hardly the only actor who auditioned for Ken but didn’t end up in the final film. The casting directors revealed over the summer that “Saturday Night Live” Emmy nominee Bowen Yang, “Schitt’s Creek” Emmy winner Dan Levy and “Dear Evan Hansen” Tony winner Ben Platt were all in the running to play versions of Ken in the film, but scheduling logistics prevented the castings from happening. Jonathan Groff also circled the role of Ken’s long-suffering friend Allan before Michael Cera landed the part.
“It’s rather a boring reason, actually,” casting director Lucy Bevan told the MPA’s “The Credits” series about why certain actors got dropped. “On a movie like this, it was a hugely ambitious shoot and a complicated schedule, and you can have brilliant ideas, and people’s availability either does or doesn’t work.”
Any actor auditioning for the role of Ken’s arch-rival Ken (a role that ultimately went to Simu Liu) auditioned with the now-beloved “beach off” fight scene.
“Those scenes were fun to audition,” Bevan said. “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. But Simu [Liu] just nailed that [line] in the film…There were certain scenes we used to audition, and the fine line between the comedy and sincerity of those characters is a difficult balance.”
“The thing that Greta did always stress was that none of these people were sarcastic or winking at the camera. They were really Kens and Barbies,” casting director Allison Jones added.
“Barbie” is now available to own on Blu-ray and digital platforms. Bomer currently stars on Showtime’s drama “Fellow Travelers” and can next be seen opposite Bradley Cooper in “Maestro.”