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Mark Ronson reveals ‘I’m Just Ken’ was nearly cut from ‘Barbie’: “The song wasn’t working”

Mark Ronson has said that ‘I’m Just Ken’ almost didn’t make it to the final cut of Barbie  amid concern that it “wasn’t working”.

While Ryan Gosling’s iconic song is arguably one of the most beloved parts of the film, Ronson (who wrote and produced the track) revealed that the world nearly didn’t get to hear it.

“I thought, ‘God, I hope we don’t ruin it,’” he told Sunday Times Culture [via MusicNews].

“At that first screening the song wasn’t working. I panicked,” he said. “The humour 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.”

Ronson also said he believed the song has helped young boys.

Ryan Gosling in ‘Barbie’ © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

“Ken is ridiculous. But Greta’s point was that nobody should ever be laughing at a character,” he continued. “We feel their pain, as crazy as that sounds about a guy wearing a white mink and two pairs of sunglasses. I never wanted to write a song for a cheap laugh. You want something to get under people’s skin.

“I know I’ll sound like David Brent, but the song helped young boys. My friend’s eight year old got broken up with and he said, ‘It’s OK, because Ken got broken up with by Barbie.’

“The song tells boys that it’s OK to be runner-up. The internet’s caused a level of isolation in boys and this idea of male camaraderie and sharing your feelings is a nice and unexpected thing to come out of it.”

He went on to discuss the impact of the song. “It had ripples everywhere. But especially in England, where there is a lineage for this kind of song,” he said. “It is the 1970s, the book Elton and Bernie wrote. A piano ballad that is sort of proggy and a bit 1980s too. A bit ‘Handbags and Gladrags’. Or it could be Robbie Williams.”

Co-writer Andrew Wyatt added: “It’s unbridled. ‘Like Total Eclipse of the Heart’. These are songs in which someone takes their emotions so seriously that they feel comfortable taking up a huge amount of space to make sure everyone knows they are upset.”

‘I’m Just Ken’ has been nominated for Best Original Song at this year’s Oscars, with Billie Eilish‘s ‘What Was I Made For?’ also getting a nod. The ceremony will take place tonight (March 10).

Variety has reportedly confirmed that the actor will join Ronson onstage at the Academy Awards to perform the song but the Academy has declined to comment.

Ronson previously said that while he would love to perform the song at the Oscars, he would only do so with Gosling.

Barbie picked up eight Oscar nominations in total, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for America Ferrara. However, the Academy received backlash after Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig missed out on nominations for Best Actress and Best Director respectively.

NME reviewed the Barbie soundtrack last year, highlighting Gosling’s performance as the “biggest wild card”: “If you can sincerely belt the words “blonde fragility” in a glam power ballad and hit every single note – my God, you Ken do anything in life.”

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