For an actor it’s a strange experience to come upon a character you’re about to play in the flesh — or in the plastic. After Ryan Gosling first read the script for Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” he walked into his backyard and found the real thing — one of his daughters’ Ken dolls — lying in the dirt, naked, with his face in a pile of mud.

“I’m sure you heard this story,” Gosling says with a grin. It’s true — it’s a story he loves to tell. But now there’s a new ending. Long after “Barbie” opened in theaters last July, after it became the biggest movie of 2023 and inspired grown men to don neon pink in public, Gosling spotted Ken in his family home once more. This time, he was better dressed, which is to say that he was dressed. “He was wearing a tuxedo, albeit a sleeveless one,” Gosling says. “And I asked my daughters, ‘What happened?’ And they said, ‘Oh, he died of armpit arthritis. Ken’s dead!’” Gosling leans back in his chair, looking amused. “And I was like, ‘Well, at least he’s face up and wearing clothes.’ I feel like he was a little better off than where I found him.”

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