He has already portrayed Barack Obama and Malcom X (and will soon be seen as Bob Marley) but Barbie director Greta Gerwig believes she has discovered Kingsley Ben-Adir’s true calling. Appearing on Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast to discuss the record-breaking blockbuster, Gerwig described the scene that convinced her she had found the next 007.
Near the end of the film, where Ken, played by Ryan Gosling, gifts his faux-fur jacket to Ben-Adir’s Basketball Ken, the British actor turns around to deliver a rousing speech to his fellow Kens, as their apparent new leader.
“I think the direction I gave to him, I said something like, ‘Ascend the throne’ and he was like, ‘Got it’. And he turned around and he ascended the throne. I was like, ‘Get this to whoever is making Bond, [they] need this immediately,” she said.
“He can do anything, and is a very proper, trained British actor,” Gerwig explained. “He can do the [Laurence] Olivier voice, so we had versions where he turned around and it was British. But that was one of those [moments], when he turned around and did that voice – everybody on set, everybody’s jaw dropped. He became this different person.”
Gerwig made sure to say that she does not know who is being considered to play the next Bond, as speculation grows about who will replace Daniel Craig as the iconic spy.
The director also opened up about how it took some convincing to get her real-life partner Noah Baumbach to write the screenplay with her. When first asked by Barbie star and producer Margot Robbie to write the script, Gerwig knew she wanted to write it with Baumbach. “Noah did not have that same feeling,” she said with a laugh. “His feeling was, ‘Why would you? Why would we do that?’”
Baumbach recently admitted his reluctance to work on the film. At a screening at the Writers Guild of America West headquarters, Baumbach told moderator Judd Apatow, “I thought it was a terrible idea and Greta signed me up for it. I was just like, ‘I don’t see how this is going to be good at all,’” he said. “I kind of blocked it for a while and every time she’d bring it up, I’d be like, ‘You’ve gotta get us out of this.’”
Baumbach’s reluctance stemmed from his perception that there was no real character and no story to tell. He changed his mind when Gerwig showed him a partial script. “I read these pages and I thought, ‘I understand now what this is,’” he continued. “The movie is about embracing your mortality and about the mess of it all, so it was exciting.”
By the time the two were on set, Baumbach was all in. “It was the most fun I think either of us have ever had, right? And then, at a certain point, I was like, ‘I think this is the best thing we’ve ever written.’”
Since it premiered in July, Barbie has smashed records at the box office, earning over a reported $1.4 billion around the world. Barbie is finally available to watch at your very own dream house. Watch Barbie on Prime Video and Apple TV