Barbie star Simu Liu says movie will tear down ‘blonde, white’ beauty standards

Simu Liu, who is set to play a Ken doll in the upcoming Barbie, said that the film will reject the idea that you have to look a certain way to be a Barbie – or a Ken.

While speaking at the Unforgettable Gala, the annual awards ceremony honouring Asian artists and leaders in entertainment in December in Beverly Hills, Liu said that Greta Gerwig’s film promotes the idea that: “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.”

The first trailer for Gerwig’s film, which stars Margot Robbie as the iconic eponymous doll, dropped in mid-December, to much glee from the internet.

During the teaser, we saw Liu’s Ken in a snippet of a dance sequence. Liu expanded on the process of creating the sequences as part of his speech, crediting Gerwig’s “conscientiousness” for the cast’s diversity.

“I remember very clearly about some of our big intricate dance sequences [in Barbie], Greta was very, very conscientious about who she cast. We were able to cast people of different shapes, sizes, differently abled, to all participate in this dance.”

Margot Robbie as Barbie in the Barbie Movie (Warner Bros. Pictures)

According to Liu, the film is “really about finding your inner beauty and owning that part of yourself and being the best possible version of you”.

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“I will say, going on set I was never isolated. I felt like I was going to work every day with a cast that really celebrated each other and celebrated each other’s differences, no matter where we came from,” Liu continued of working with Gerwig on Barbie. “I think when you watch the movie, you’ll see that reflected on the screen.”

The movie will reportedly have multiple different versions of Ken, with Liu and Doctor Who’s Ncuti Gatwa playing the character alongside Ryan Gosling’s principle Ken (who appeared in the teaser with classic bleached hair).

Multiple Barbies will join Robbie’s, including Issa Rae and transgender actor Hari Nef.

The Barbie cast is further rounded out with America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Alexandra Shipp, Michael Cera, Emerald Fennell, Emma Mackey, Rhea Perlman, and Will Ferrell among its ensemble.

Liu has previously played the titular role in the Marvel film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Specific plot details for Barbie are being kept under wraps – for now.

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