How ‘Barbie’ Song “I’m Just Ken” Went From Tragic To Triumphant – Sound & Screen Film

How ‘Barbie’ Song “I’m Just Ken” Went From Tragic To Triumphant – Sound & Screen Film

After the summer blockbuster success of Barbie, fans everywhere are singing “I’m Just Ken” along with Ryan Gosling. Songwriters Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt shared how the now Grammy-nominated song evolved into such a power anthem at Deadline’s Sound & Screen: Film event.

Ronson said he thought of the line, “I’m just Ken, anywhere else I’d be a 10” and thought, “That’s so sad.”

More from Deadline

“The Ken character just sunk his dopey hooks into me,” Ronson said. “It’s so wonderful to write a song from the tragic person who doesn’t get what they want in the film.”

Ronson called frequent collaborator Wyatt to help. When they played the song for director Greta Gerwig, she said she wanted to see the movie it came from. Ronson reminded her, “It’s your movie. You can have it.”

Then Gerwig played the song for Gosling, who said he related to it on a deep level.

“I said, ‘Was he being sarcastic?’” Ronson said.

Gosling was serious, and they rewrote the song to accommodate him. In the film, Ken and his rival Ken (Simu Liu) have a dance battle during the bridge of the song, then conclude with a triumphant verse.

“Greta was like, ‘Can it be instead of ‘I’m just Ken like nobody likes me,’ can it be like ‘I’m just Ken, hear me roar?’” Ronson said.

Wyatt said he’d collaborate with Ronson on any song, whether for a blockbuster like Barbie or a shoestring indie.

“Even if we weren’t doing the biggest movie in the world, even if we were just doing a movie that was seen by 15 people, I would still cherish that time we spent together in a studio,” Wyatt said.

Conversely, Ronson said they wrote “Dance the Night,” the song the Barbies dance to, in the first week so the cast could rehearse the choreography.

Dua Lipa sings “Dance the Night,” which also scored a Grammy Song of the Year nom. Ronson said artists signed up because they were fans of Gerwig.

Billie Eilish and Finneas wrote a song for Barbie, “What Was I Made For?” — which scored several Grammy nominations including Song and Record of the Year — and so did Charli XCX. Ronson and Wyatt wrote a song for Lizzo to open the movie too.

Music from Barbie scored 11 Grammy nominations overall.

“They had to do a lot of heavy lifting,” Ronson said. “Lizzo has to set up the whole intro of the film, and Charlie has to carry an office chase through Mattel. Everybody did their thing.”

Check out the panel video above.

cnx.cmd.push(function() { cnx({ settings: { plugins: { pmcAtlasMG: { iabPlcmt: 1, } } }, playerId: "1d932e57-b397-4448-b4b7-d30563744457", mediaId: "ba9c303c-15b2-429f-830a-17c9c62581d2", }).render("connatix_contextual_player_ba9c303c-15b2-429f-830a-17c9c62581d2_2"); });

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.