Greta Gerwig explains why Barbie cameos for Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet had to be cut

Barbie director Greta Gerwig had plans for Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet to make cameo appearances in the film, but things just didn’t work out.

Margot Robbie, as Barbie, and Ryan Gosling’s Ken will be be flanked by an abundance of queer talent and fan favourites. Not only do we have the likes of Dua Lipa, Hari Nef and Issa Rae stepping out as Barbie dolls, but Ncuti Gatwa, Simu Liu and Scott Evans will also be helping to open the gates to the shocking-pink wonders of Barbieland, come the film’s release on 21 July.

With critics praising Robbie and Gosling’s performances as “roles they were born to play“, two of Gerwig’s most frequent collaborators, Chalamet and Ronan, are noticeably absent from the director’s usual ensemble.

But that’s not for want of trying. In a recent interview with CinemaBlend, the Oscar-nominated director revealed that the pair were initially eyed for roles in what she called “speciality cameos”.

“It was always going to have to be like a sort of smaller thing because [Ronan] was actually producing at the time, which I am so proud of her for, and of course,” Gerwig said.

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The director went on to explain that she was also going to do a cameo with Call Me By Your Name star Chalamet, but the idea similarly fell through due to production conflicts at the time – leaving her feeling as though she was doing something without her children.

“Both of them couldn’t do it and I was so annoyed. I love them so much. I’m not their mum, but I sort of feel like their mum,” she added.

Ronan and Chalamet appeared in two of Gerwig’s early features, Lady Bird in 2017 and Little Women in 2019.

While Ronan was nominated for best actress at the Academy Awards for both films, Gerwig received Oscar nods for best director and best original screenplay for Lady Bird and best adapted screenplay for Little Women.

Ronan previously told People magazine that she was “gutted” not to be able to participate in the film, due to acting and producing duties on The Outrun, an adaptation of the memoir by acclaimed author and journalist Amy Liptrot.

“I was supposed to do a cameo because I live in London and they were [filming] there,” Ronan explained. “There was a whole character I was going to play, another Barbie.”

The actress also revealed that she had texted Robbie and Gerwig on the off-chance that she could film some background shots at a later date, recalling how she said: “If you’re doing any pick-up [shots], maybe I can just walk through the background.”

Chalamet, however, has kept quiet about why he was unable to visit Barbieland, although it would possibly have clashed with his filming of Dune: Part Two, or preparing for his upcoming turn as Willy Wonka in the musical prequel to Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The plot of Barbie is still largely a mystery to the general public. Aside from Ken going on a journey of self discovery, the only hints we have so far is that when things start to become less-than-perfect for the film’s titular toy, Barbie herself must embark on an adventure into the real world to uncover the truth behind her existence.

The promotional trail has included a sneak peek of an emotional musical number from Ken, several personalised character posters and a compilation soundtrack album with a list of stars to rival the film’s cast – most recently, Sam Smith with a Ken-centric song entitled “Man I Am.”

Robbie has even taken method-acting in a sartorial direction by dressing up as Mattel’s most famous doll during the film’s worldwide press tour.

Barbie opens in cinemas on 21 July.