Everything to know about the 'Barbie' movie cast (2024)

It's quite possibly the most anticipated film of the year so far. Greta Gerwig's Barbie, starring Margot Robbie as the eponymous doll and Ryan Gosling as Ken, finally arrives in theaters on July 21, 2023, after spending the better part of a decade in development. Gerwig's involvement was first announced in 2019, marking the 60th anniversary of Barbie herself.

Though Amy Schumer was originally attached to develop Mattel's signature feature, the comedian left the project when it was clear that executives at Mattel didn't see eye-to-eye with her feminist vision. "They definitely didn't want to do it the way I wanted to do it, the only way I was interested in doing it," she told Andy Cohen on an episode of Watch What Happens Live.

Something must have changed along the way because nearly everyone involved with the production of Barbie seems to agree that Gerwig's interpretation of the iconic character is both feminist and funny.

As we bide our time until opening night, EW has compiled everything you need to know about the cast of Barbie.

01of 24

Margot Robbie (Barbie)

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Margot Robbie began acting in her native Australia on the soap Neighbors and rose to international fame with her barnstorming turn in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), followed by playing Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad (2016), James Gunn's superior sequel The Suicide Squad (2021), and Cathy Yan's invigorating Birds of Prey (2020).

She soon earned two Oscar nominations for her brilliant turn as Tonya Harding in I, Tonya (2017) and her role in Bombshell (2019) before turning heads as Sharon Tate in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. In 2022, Robbie starred in an absolute mess called Amsterdam, as well as the similarly maximalist Babylon. More recently, she played a small but pivotal role in Wes Anderson's delightful, thoughtfully constructed Asteroid City (2023).

Robbie has been married to producer Tom Ackerley since 2016. The couple met on the set of the 2014 film Suite Française, and founded LuckyChap Entertainment together the following year. Along with Barbie, the company has produced her costar Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman and I, Tonya, as well as the Netflix series Maid (2021) and upcoming spins on Ocean's 11 and Tank Girl. (Rejoice!)

As for why she signed on to play Barbie, Robbie cited the casting as part of her motivation. "I don't think I would have wanted to attempt to make a Barbie film if there wasn't a wide diversity of Barbies and Kens," she told Time. "I don't think you should say, 'This is the one version of what Barbie is, and that's what women should aspire to be and look like and act like.'"

02of 24

Ryan Gosling (Ken)

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Former Mouseketeer Ryan Gosling got his first acting credit on a 1995 episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? Since then, the actor has carved a spacious nook for himself on the top shelf of Hollywood. His most notable works include the classic weepy The Notebook (2004), his Oscar-nominated turn in Half Nelson (2006), Lars and the Real Girl (2007), Blue Valentine, the neo-noir action-thriller Drive, George Clooney's Ides of March, and the romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Gosling generated further buzz by headlining Adam McKay's The Big Short (2015) and the refreshing comedy The Nice Guys (2016) before earning another Oscar nom for singing and dancing his way through La La Land with Emma Stone and cruising through Blade Runner 2049 in 2017. He then took a four-year break to spend more time with his partner, Eva Mendes (whom he met on the set of The Place Beyond the Pines in 2011), and their two daughters. The actor currently has four projects in development, including the update of The Fall Guy and Margot Robbie's purported Ocean's 11 prequel.

Playing Ken has given Gosling a new respect for the character, who the actor has found himself defending as of late. "It is funny, this kind of clutching-your-pearls idea of, like, #notmyken," he told GQ in May 2023. "Like you ever thought about Ken before this?… No, you didn't. You never did. You never cared." Gosling continued: "If you ever really cared about Ken, you would know that nobody cared about Ken. So your hypocrisy is exposed. This is why his story must be told."

03of 24

Michael Cera (Allan)

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Michael Cera grew up in Canada and made a name for himself as George-Michael Bluth, Jason Bateman's awkward teenage son, on Arrested Development (2003–2018). He went on to appear in 2007's Superbad and Juno, Nick and Nora' Infinite Playlist (2008), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), and as "himself" in This Is the End (2013). He has since appeared on Broadway in the Kenneth Lonergan plays Lobby Hero (2018), for which he received a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor, and The Waverly Gallery (2018).

Cera is also a musician, having contributed to the soundtracks of both Scott Pilgrim and Nick and Nora, as well as mandolin and backing vocals to the Weezer track "Hang On." His song "Best I Can," featuring Sharon Van Etten, was nominated for a 2017 Critics' Choice Award for Best Song Featured in a Documentary, though his 2014 cover of "Clay Pigeons" by Blaze Foley remains his most popular musical work to date.

In 2022, Cera revealed that he is a father to a young son with his wife, Nadine.

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Will Ferrell (Mattel CEO)

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After a tenure on some of the most fruitful seasons of Saturday Night Live, Will Ferrell segued into a successful acting and producing career in television and film. Along with Adam McKay, Ferrell created some of the most enduring comedies of the 21st century: Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys. Another noteworthy Ferrell flick is Blades of Glory (2006), where he and Jon Heder star as disgraced figure skaters. Ferrell has also been successful in more dramatic roles, namely in films Everything Must Go (2010) and Downhill (2020).

Through his and McKay's Gary and Gloria Sanchez Productions, Ferrell has produced Eastbound and Down, Booksmart (2019), Hustlers (2019), Dead to Me, Succession, and The Menu (2022). Ferrell has been married to Viveca Paulin, with whom he has three children, since 2000.

As for his role as the CEO of Mattel, the company behind the real-life Barbie doll, Ferrell has been singing his praises for the anticipated blockbuster. "It is, in my humble opinion, the ultimate example of high art and low art," Ferrell told WSJ. Magazine. "It's a loving homage to the brand and, at the same time, couldn't be more satirical — just an amazing comment on male patriarchy and women in society and why Barbie's criticized and yet why every little girl still wants to play with Barbie. Boy, when I read it, I was like, 'This is fantastic.'"

05of 24

Helen Mirren (Narrator)

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One of the most celebrated and decorated actors of all time, Helen Mirren boasts a staggering amount of credits to her name. She rose to acclaim in The Long Good Friday (1980) and Excalibur (1981). Mirren then won an Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006), and has taken on action-hero roles in Red (2010) and its 2013 sequel, along with 2023's Shazam: Fury of the Gods. Other notable credits include films Gosford Park (2001) and Hitchco*ck (2012). Mirren will soon appear in the biopic Golda, in which she plays former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir.

Mirren has known Gerwig since they starred together in the entirely forgotten 2011 remake of Arthur, so the veteran actor jumped at the opportunity to be a part of Barbie. "We formed a bond together, Mirren told Vanity Fair. "She's an amazing visionary and an extraordinary talent."

Though she voices the narrator, whether or not she'll appear on screen in the finished film is still a mystery. "I did shoot an appearance, but whether that's gotten to stay in the movie, I don't know."

Mirren has been married to director Taylor Hackford (Ray) since 1997.

06of 24

Kate McKinnon (Weird Barbie)

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Former Saturday Night Live MVP Kate McKinnon has stolen scenes in the films Masterminds (2016), Paul Feig's Ghostbusters (2016), Rough Night (2017), and The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018). In 2019, she starred in Danny Boyle's Yesterday and opposite Margot Robbie in Bombshell. As for television, McKinnon won two Emmys for SNL, has done voicework for Family Guy and The Simpsons, and starred in the underwhelming miniseries Joe vs. Carole, based on the infamous feud in Netflix's Tiger King. She's currently filming Andrew Stanton's sci-fi flick In the Blink of an Eye.

When speaking to Fandango about her thoughts after reading the Barbie script, McKinnon shared her appreciation for the fact that it explores how "gender roles deny people half their humanity," adding that it's a "very powerful message."

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Issa Rae (President Barbie)

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Issa Rae first became known through her 2011 web series Awkward Black Girl. In 2016, HBO began airing Ray's debut television show Insecure, which garnered critical acclaim and 14 Emmy nominations (plus a win for editing) across its five seasons. During that time, she also started in the 2019 film Little alongside Regina Hall. Rae appeared opposite Kumail Nanjiani in the chaotic rom-com The Lovebirds (2020), and had a small role in B.J. Novak's exceptional thriller Vengeance (2022). In 2023, Rae voiced Spider-Woman in the massive hit Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Rae voiced her belief that Gerwig's approach to her cast and crew led to the overall harmony on set. "She collaborates with people whose opinions she values, and she wants to make sure that she's hearing everyone out," Rae said. "She's so great about funneling those thoughts through her own vision and heightening and elevating them…Everyone had versions of how they wanted their Barbies or Kens to be, and I saw her take those ideas and make them her own in the best possible way."

08of 24

America Ferrera (Gloria)

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Superstore and Ugly Betty star America Ferrera plays a real-world character in Barbie who befriends the dolls when they arrive from Barbie Land. Ferrera's first film appearance was in Real Women Have Curves (2002), and she quickly netted more starring roles in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005) and its 2008 sequel, along with Lords of Dogtown (2005), a voice role in the How to Train Your Dragon films, and an unrecognizable turn in End of Watch (2012).

Ferrera revealed on an episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show that she decided to wear a particularly fashionable outfit to the Barbie cast sleepover at the swanky Claridge's Hotel in London. "Nobody told me that it was sexy Barbie sleepover," Ferrera protested. "So everybody was in like, really pretty silky nightgowns and I was in the most grandma floral twin set you could imagine."

09of 24

Simu Liu (Ken)

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Canadian native Simu Liu had roles on shows such as Pacific Rim (2012), Orphan Black (2013–2017), Blood and Water (2015), Kim's Convenience (2016–2021), Taken (2017), and Slasher (2016–present) before he joined the MCU as the titular hero in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021). That same year, he hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live.

Liu joined his other Barbie cast members in praising their director while speaking to Vanity Fair in 2022. "I remember very clearly about some of our big intricate dance sequences. Greta was very, very conscientious about who she cast," he said. "We were able to cast people of different shapes, sizes, differently abled, to all participate in this dance — all under this message of: 'You don't have to be blonde, white, or X, Y, Z in order to embody what it means to be a Barbie or a Ken.'"

10of 24

Kingsley Ben-Adir (Ken)

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British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir got his start on the London stage before transitioning into television and film. He starred opposite Zoë Kravitz in Hulu's High Fidelity series adaptation and as Malcolm X in Regina King's One Night in Miami… (2020). Currently, Ben-Adir can be seen with Samuel L. Jackson in Marvel's Disney+ series Secret Invasion. Other noteworthy credits include Peaky Blinders, The OA, and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

Ben-Adir told Variety he had no second thoughts about joining the production. "From the first page, I was like, 'Wow, this is really, really funny!'... Then me and Greta went out for some whiskey. We spoke for two or three hours. There was a really strong sense from early on like she was trying to do something a little bit different," he said. "It's very rare that a script like that comes along. So I was like, 'Whatever, whoever is in it, I just want to be on set with those guys and I want to be a part of it.'"

11of 24

Ritu Arya (Journalist Barbie)

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Ritu Arya started acting through guest spots on British series such as Sherlock and Doctor Who before she landed a part in Paul Feig's Last Christmas (2019). That same year, she joined The Umbrella Academy in a lead role as Lila Pitts. She went on to appear in five episodes of Feel Good (2020) and the raucous action comedy Red Notice (2021) alongside Ryan Reynolds and Dwyane Johnson, and in 2023 starred in the inspired genre mash-up Polite Society.

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Alexandra Shipp (Writer Barbie)

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Alexandra Shipp rose to prominence by playing the late singer Aaliyah in Lifetime's biopic Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B (2014). She took over the role of Storm for Halle Berry in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), which she reprised for Deadpool 2 in 2018 and in 2019's Dark Phoenix. Additionally, Shipp starred in the slasher satire Tragedy Girls (2017), Straight Outta Compton (2015), and Shaft (2019). More recently, she appeared in the bio-thriller Silk Road and alongside Andrew Garfield in Tick, Tick… Boom! in 2021.

Like many other cast members, Shipp has praised Gerwig for encouraging each actor not to over-train for their role. "Greta was really excited about everybody looking the way that Barbies should look, which is every shape and size," Shipp told Interview. "I saw some of the film last week and it's really beautiful to see us all together looking like a gaggle of girls, but also a gaggle of dolls."

13of 24

Nicola Coughlan (Diplomat Barbie)

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Before she was synonymous with the role of Penelope Featherington on Bridgerton, Nicola Coughlan starred as Clare Devlin in the stellar dramatic comedy Derry Girls (2018–2022). She's also appeared on the Hulu series Harlots, and will star alongside Nick Frost in the upcoming comedy Seize Them!

"Oh my God, I'd be so, so happy," Coughlan told PEOPLE when asked how her teenage self would view her success today. She elaborated that her career is "what I've always wanted — and I think something about it happening to me not in my 20s, it makes me look at it with a different lens, and I appreciate it so much."

14of 24

Emerald Fennell (Midge)

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Actress, writer, and director Emerald Fennell is set to appear in Barbie as a non-Barbiefied character named Midge. After spending several seasons on Call the Midwife, her role as Camilla Parker Bowles on The Crown brought Fennell to international prominence. As for film, she appeared in The Danish Girl (2015), in Joe Wright's Anna Karenina (2012), and Pan (2015).

In 2020, Fennell wrote and directed Promising Young Woman, a positively searing film that was nominated for multiple Oscars and earned Fennell a win for Best Original Screenplay. Her other notable writing credits include six episodes of Killing Eve and the short film Careful How You Go (2018).

15of 24

Sharon Rooney (Lawyer Barbie)

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Scottish stand-up comedian Sharon Rooney began her career on stage before netting roles in Scarlett Johansson's alien tone poem Under the Skin (2015), Dumbo (2019), and The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021). She also starred on the TV series My Mad Fat Diary and Finding Alice (2021).

Rooney told Scottish outlet Daily Record about her positive takeaways from the Barbie set. "I think what Barbie's taught me is that you can do anything and be everything because she's a woman who — literally — does everything," she said. "I'd really love to write something of my own. I see how clever Greta is and how wonderful she is and such an amazing actress, but she also is a phenomenal director. And Margot as well, she's an outrageously brilliant actress, but she's also got a fantastic production company."

16of 24

Dua Lipa (Mermaid Barbie)

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London-born pop star Dua Lipa jump-started her career by posting covers of popular songs on YouTube. She released her first single, "New Love," in 2015. Two years later, the artist issued her self-titled debut album, featuring hits "New Rules" and "Be the One." Her second studio album, Future Nostalgia, represented a jump forward in her work with its airy, disco-dotted sound. She's since won three Grammys, including Best New Artist in 2019.

Lipa has recorded new music for Barbie — along with Charli XCX, Haim, Ice Spice, Lizzo, Tame Impala, and even Ryan Gosling — and is currently working on her next solo studio album. Barbie is her first acting role, though she has a part in Matthew Vaughn's film Argylle coming in 2024.

17of 24

Hari Nef (Doctor Barbie)

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Hari Nef starred in the biographical drama Mapplethorpe and Sam Levinson's Assassination Nation in 2018, along with the comedies 1Up and Meet Cute. She's also appeared in episodes of Transparent, the controversial Max series The Idol, and the Sex and the City revival And Just Like That…"

Nef landed her role in Barbie after posting an open letter to Gerwig and Robbie on social media expressing her ambivalence for the term "doll" as a transgender woman. "Identity politics and cinema aren't my favorite combination, but the name BARBIE looms large over every American woman," Nef wrote. "Barbie's the standard; she's The Girl; she's certainly THE doll. 'Doll' is fraught, glamorous; she is, and she isn't. We call ourselves 'the dolls' in the face of everything we know we are, never will be, hope to be. We yell the word because the word matters. And no doll matters more than Barbie."

18of 24

Emma Mackey (Physicist Barbie)

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Despite her roles in high-profile movies such as Death on the Nile (2022), the Gothic drama Emily (2023), and the dramedy series Sex Education, Emma Mackey marks being on the set of Barbie the highlight of her career thus far.

"It was the most fun I've ever had in my life. It was wonderful. It's being helmed by people who know what they're doing and who care and who are in the best possible circ*mstances to do their job," Mackey told Total Film. "When they're in their element, and you see other people confident and calm in what they're doing, then you feel competent and calm, and you want to make them proud and you want to do the best job possible. It's all a very healthy work environment to be in. Those opportunities don't come by all the time so you've got to take them when you can."

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Ncuti Gatwa (Ken)

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Mackey's Sex Education costar Ncuti Gatwa — who currently serves as the Fifteenth Doctor on the long-running sci-fi darling Doctor Who — was cast in Barbie after Mackey, though he told Elle she kept his casting a secret until he had secured the role. "...She knew I was going to be in the film because my name was in the script already," Gatwa said. "She kept it a secret for a month! When I found out I got the part I called her singing the Aqua 'Barbie' song."

As for reuniting with Mackey, Gatwa felt it to be a blessing. "We had just had such an intense five years together where we all became so close. We love each other so much and it's incredibly exciting seeing everyone go off and do their own things, but to be able to come back together? That's a magical experience."

20of 24

Ana Cruz Kayne (Supreme Court Justice Barbie)

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Ana Cruz Kayne has an impressive list of credits to her name, including the inventive sci-fi film Another Earth (2011), the CBS crime drama series Bull, Louis C.K.'s sitcom Louie, the Tom Selleck drama Blue Bloods, and the upcoming Netflix series Painkiller. She also appeared in Gerwig's brilliant adaptation of Little Women (2019).

Kayne took particular pleasure in bringing visibility to the Barbie universe. "It was just so powerful to get to sit there as a woman of color, as the head of the Supreme Court," Kayne told The Messenger. "It was everything you'd hope for. And because it's Barbie, it's power with a wink. So it felt very fitting."

21of 24

John Cena (Merman Ken)

Everything to know about the 'Barbie' movie cast (21)

Former professional wrestler John Cena is tied with Ric Flair for the most world championship reigns within the WWE. In the last 10 years, Cena has also become an ever-present actor, proving his comedy chops in Judd Apatow's Trainwreck (2015) and the raunchy comedy Blockers (2018) while also playing a villain in Bumblebee (2018). Cena later joined both The Suicide Squad (a role which he reprised in Max's Peacemaker series) and the Toretto family in F9: The Fast Hour (2021) and Fast X (2023). He also hosts the game show Wipeout alongside Nicole Byer. Cena has been married to Shay Shariatzadeh since October 2020.

Cena revealed on the Today show that he actually pitched himself for the role "in an accidental run-in with Margot Robbie." Reportedly, Cena told Robbie that he "will do, pretty much, whatever you guys need 'cause I really enjoy the movie. And they asked me if I wanted to be a merman."

22of 24

Connor Swindells (Mattel Intern)

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Yet another star of Sex Education, Connor Swindells has also appeared in the miniseries Vigil (2021) and SAS: Rogue Heroes (2022-present). His film appearances include The Vanishing (2019) opposite Gerard Butler and the Jane Austen adaptation Emma (2020).

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Scott Evans (Ken)

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Scott Evans has appeared in an enviable list of features, including The Lovely Bones (2009), Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009), and Almost Love (2020), and the TV series Grace and Frankie and White Collar.

Having not appeared in any summer blockbusters up until this point, Evans couldn't believe the opportunity when he was cast in Barbie. "I would say 'lost it' is a very big understatement!" Scott told ET Online. "When I found out that I got it, it was kind of just like a moment of processing and then it was a moment of, 'I have to go, I have people to call!' Oh my God, the first day of shooting, I was looking around the room. I'm like, 'OK, I know every single person in this room. Do I belong?'"

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Ariana Greenblatt (Human)

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Ariana Greenblatt began her career as a child star on Disney Channel with an appearance on Liv and Maddie, and soon headlined her own show, Stuck in the Middle (2016–2018). The 15-year-old actress later broke into film with Bad Mom's Christmas (2017), followed by Avengers: Infinity War (2018) as a younger version of Gamora, Love and Monsters (2020), and In the Heights (2021). Up next for Greenblatt is the Eli Roth sci-fi series Borderlands.

Needless to say, Greenblatt was thrilled at the chance to audition for Barbie over Zoom for Robbie and Gerwig, telling Elle, "My only thought in my head was like, 'Look, however this goes, just cherish this moment forever [and] the fact that you get to meet these two beautiful, inspiring women just at least once.' That's all I wanted."

Everything to know about the 'Barbie' movie cast (2024)


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