Iconic ‘I’m Just Ken’ Dance Scene Almost Didn’t Make It To Final ‘Barbie Movie’ Cut

The now-beloved and iconic “I’m Just Ken” dance scene almost did not survive the final cut of 2023’s Barbie movie.

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie
Margot Robbie at the "Barbie" UK film premiere, Cineworld Leicester Square, Leicester Square, on Wednesday 12 July 2023 in London, England, UK. 12 Jul 2023 Pictured: Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie. Photo credit: CAN/Capital Pictures / MEGA

The now-beloved and iconic “I’m Just Ken” dance scene almost did not survive the final cut of 2023’s Barbie movie. In retrospect, it would have been an unthinkable omission. But when the powers that be were discussing whether or not the scene should be a part of the movie, the scene was nearly cut. Director Greta Gerwig had to fight to keep it. Here’s what we know about the popular movie scene that almost wasn’t.

Barbie Movie Resonates Well With Audiences

Margot Robbie

When Greta Gerwig dreamed up the behemoth that the Barbie movie became, she likely had no idea that it would resonate so well with audiences.

The movie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, explores the evolution of one particular iteration of Barbie, the iconic children’s toy. While everyone else in Barbie land seems to be enjoying the idyllic world they live in without question, Stereotypical Barbie starts to wake up and wonder a little bit about life – and death.

Throughout the movie, characters make comments and observations that resonate well among viewers. The entire film is a no-holds-barred dismantling of the problems behind patriarchal society. And it explores the strain and confinement that women in such a society have to live with. She didn’t create a simple fluffy comedy that brings the Barbie doll to life. Gerwig created a mirror to hold up for audiences who were touched by the honesty of what they saw.

Iconic ‘I’m Just Ken’ Dance Scene Almost Didn’t Survive to Final Barbie Movie Cut – Minor Spoilers

Minor movie spoilers below: 

When viewers think of the Barbie movie, there are a few scenes that probably stick out in their minds. Among those would be the eye-watering truth bombs dropped by America Farerra’s character about the challenges of being a woman. And Barbie’s offhand comments about her and Ken’s lack of genitals.

But another moment that stands out is an iconic dance scene from the last third of the film. It shows a disgruntled and disenchanted Ken coming to grips with his “second place” role in Barbie’s life. And all of the Kens in Barbie World are at war with one another. They’re clawing for some meaning and position in their idyllic world. Although the dance scene has become synonymous with the film and its messaging, it nearly didn’t survive to the final cut.

While speaking with “Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong at the Screen Talk event at the BFI London Film Festival, director Greta Gerwig opened up about the memorable scene. Gerwig explained, “It just said in the script, ‘And then it becomes a dream ballet and they work it out through dance.’ There was a big meeting that was like, ‘Do you need this?’ And I was like, ‘Everything in me needs this.’ They were like, ‘What do you even mean? What is a dream ballet?’ And I was like, ‘A dream ballet? Where do I begin!’”

Gerwig: ‘Now I’m Committed’

Gerwig explained to the big wigs, “I was like, if people could follow that in ‘Singing in the Rain,’ I think we’ll be fine. I think people will know what this is. So that was the big reference point. Even though everything felt right to me and was giving me so much joy in the way we were doing it, it was also like, ‘Oh no, this could be just terrible, but now I’m committed.’”

And her commitment paid off. Barbie has grossed more than $1 billion in box office sales, rocketed to the hottest movie of the year, and shattered the glass ceiling by becoming the highest-grossing film by a solo female director.