Sylvester Stallone Reveals What Stopped Him Playing Ken in Barbie



  • Sylvester Stallone almost appeared in the
    movie, but couldn’t due to scheduling conflicts. His image was used to influence Ryan Gosling’s portrayal of Ken.
  • Stallone’s rugged and resilient persona from his previous roles inspired the swagger and outfit choice for Ken in the movie.
  • If given the chance, Stallone would be happy to appear in a future
    movie and his role in the franchise remains a possibility.

Sylvester Stallone doesn’t seem like he would be the first in line to take on the role of Barbie’s Ken, but Greta Gerwig almost took that plunge and put the Rocky star in 2023’s hit movie.

The film, inspired by the Mattel dolls, took Barbie on a journey unlike any she has ventured on before, taking her from the ever-pink Barbie World into the real world where the concept of patriarchy gives her, and Ken, a new outlook on their lives. The movie succeeded in reaching out to audiences in a way that no other movie of last year could, easily becoming the highest grossing film of the year with a box office haul of more than $1.44 billion during its theatrical run.


Release Date
July 21, 2023

Heyday Films, LuckyChap Entertainment, Mattel Films

While the film’s cast reads like a who’s who of Hollywood talent, one of those who got away from the movie was Stallone. The action star, known for big, masculine movies like Rocky and Rambo, told The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon that he was approached to appear in Barbie, but was otherwise engaged. However, his influence on the movie is still present, even if the man himself couldn’t be there in the flesh. He said:

The director said, “Do you want to be in the film?” I said, “I’d love to be in the film.” And then I was stuck on Tulsa King, so I couldn’t be on. And then they took kind of my image, and with Ryan [Gosling]. And it was, like, amazing. So that’s the story… They put him in a fur coat.

Sylvester Stallone’s Influence on Ryan Gosling’s Ken

Ryan Gosling as Ken wearing a fur jacket and glasses in Barbie
Warner Bros.

Stallone’s legacy, characterized by roles depicting a rugged and resilient symbol of masculinity during the ’80s and ’90s, clearly had an influence over several aspects of Ryan Gosling’s appearance as Ken.

In the movie, Ken is shown a new way of living thanks to his trip into the real world, as he discovers the idea of patriarchy and decides to bring it back to Barbie Land. From here on out, the swagger and outfit choice became a way of including Stallone in the movie without him being there in a combination of homage and satire.

Sylvester Stallone Throws Weight Behind Barbie Star for Rambo Recast

Sylvester Stallone has previously given his opinion on who should take over his role as Rambo, and he hasn’t changed his mind.

What would Stallone’s role in Barbie have amounted to? That is something we can only imagine, but who knows what could happen if Greta Gerwig does decide to return to Barbie’s world in the future. It seems like Stallone would have been more than happy to appear in the movie if circumstances had been different, and it seems highly likely that he would be up for it if the option came around again.

is currently available on VOD services, but has yet to have a streaming date announced.

You can check out Stallone’s interview on The Tonight Show below.

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