Mark Ronson says ‘I’m Just Ken’ almost got cut from ‘Barbie’: ‘Greta had to fight’

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Ryan Gosling’s big musical number from “Barbie” almost didn’t see the light of day.

Mark Ronson, who co-wrote “I’m Just Ken” and produced several songs on the blockbuster’s soundtrack, told The Sunday Times that the power ballad and its hilarious dance sequence nearly got cut from the film.

“At that first screening the song wasn’t working. I panicked,” Ronson said. “The humor wasn’t translating, and Greta had to fight. The studio asked her how much she really needed it and she said, ‘With every inch of my body.’ And then there was a big swing.”

In the movie, the musical number is performed by Gosling’s Ken, who is facing somewhat of an identity crisis — who is Ken outside of his relationship with Barbie?

All the while, Gosling and the rest of the Kens battle it out on the beach, only to be interrupted by a dance break in an alternate setting.

Ronson said it was important to him and Gerwig to have the song be sincere and true to the character's feelings, explaining, “Ken is ridiculous. But Greta’s point was that nobody should ever be laughing at a character.”

“We feel their pain, as crazy as that sounds about a guy wearing a white mink and two pairs of sunglasses,” Ronson added. “I never wanted to write a song for a cheap laugh. You want something to get under people’s skin.”

Ronson previously opened up to Vanity Fair in July 2023 about writing the song.

He explained that he didn’t initially imagine Gosling would sing the tune, but the actor had related to the song so much that he asked to perform it in the movie. Gerwig reworked a scene to bring Gosling's performance to life.

“He really got [that] it had to walk this line of not being funny or parody,” Ronson said of Gosling. “But obviously, the song is also kind of ridiculous at times. So he was really amazing, and when he really did start hitting the big notes, I was like, this dude is a vocal powerhouse!”

The “Barbie” soundtrack has made waves in both the film and music industry since its release, including “I’m Just Ken” and Billie Eilish’s emotional song, “What Was I Made For?” which served as a motif throughout the movie. Both tracks are up for best original song at the March 10 Oscars ceremony.

“I’m Just Ken” got the holiday treatment in December 2023 when Gosling, Ronson, and writer/producer Andrew Wyatt released the “Merry Kristmas Barbie” version of the song. In addition to a nomination at the Golden Globes, the song took home best song at the 2024 Critics Choice Awards back in January, much to Gosling’s surprise.

Gosling will be performing the song with Ronson live at the Oscars. The award show airs on Sunday, March 10 starting at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT on ABC.

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