SPOILERS for the Barbie movie are ahead!
The Barbie movie is full of funny and clever moments, from intellectual jokes about Proust Barbie, to hilarious and fitting references to Matchbox 20 songs. It demands several rewatches just so you can pick up on all the references and in-jokes that are easy to miss the first time. For example, even after seeing the Greta Gerwig-helmed feature multiple times, I totally missed a genius detail about America Ferrara’s husband in the movie. Now I can’t get over how cute the reference was.
In the film, there's a scene where Gloria (played by Ferrara) is wondering whether she should call her husband before escaping to BarbieLand with Margot Robbie’s "Barbie" character. The scene then cuts to a hilarious moment where her husband is seen entertaining himself by trying desperately to learn Spanish using DuoLingo. He gets something right, and shines a self satisfied smile, very content and engrossed his activity. The scene is incredible and gets a laugh from the audience. Apparently, as The Cut recently pointed out, Gloria’s movie husband is played by Ferrara's real-life partner, Ryan Piers Williams.
Williams is absolutely perfect in the scene, and even though his moment is brief, his expressions are so fitting. He too is an actor who has been in a handful of independent projects over the years. Williams even attended the Barbie premiere with Ferrara, who posted a photo on Instagram of the two with a very apropos caption. She said:
My favorite & forever Ken, you cute.💙🖤💕
They could not be more adorable, and they both looked fabulous on the red carpet. You can see a photo of them at the summer event below:
It’s so sweet that Gerwig was able to include this slight nod to Ferrara’s real life in the movie. It makes sense for her husband to be featured in the film since her character Gloria’s life takes place out of BarbieLand in Los Angeles. It is such a meta reference to the outside world of the movie, which is a common theme throughout the film. DuoLingo also seemed happy to get a movie shout out, and the mascot to the language learning company even attended the premiere in a full Barbie getup.
Barbie in general was quite the family affair. Tom Ackerly, Robbie’s husband, is the actress’ producing partner, and both were heavily involved behind the scenes of Barbie in producing roles. Gerwig wrote the film with her partner, Noah Baumbach, who is an accomplished filmmaker in his own right and was integral to the story at the heart of Barbie. Even Ryan Gosling’s wife, Eva Mendes, played a part in enhancing her husband’s Ken-ergy, and it was her idea to have "Ken" monogrammed on his underwear in the film. The movie already feels so personal, and these little touches make the film even more grounded. Williams’ scene is one of the funniest in Barbie, and hopefully he joins Ferrara on the big screen again in the future.
You can still catch Barbie in theaters nationwide now. The Mattel film is continuing its historic, record-breaking box office run, so make sure to experience the pink-painted world on the big screen while you can. For more information on other big films hitting cinemas this year, make sure to consult our 2023 movie release schedule.