It’s been over half a year since Barbie opened in theaters, and there’s still a lot of talk surrounding what CinemaBlend ranked as one of the best movies of 2023. Among the many things this movie has going for it is its all-star cast, which included looping in Michael Cera as Allan, although his manager nearly cost him the role. But ahead of the public finding out how Barbie will do among the other 96th Academy Award nominees, Cera has revealed that Ben Affleck was supposed to cameo in the movie, and I’m genuinely baffled.
Remember that moment when Allan is hiding in the back of Stereotypical Barbie’s car as America Ferrera’s Gloria and Ariana Greenblatt’s Sasha are driving back to the real world, only to make his presence known once “Push” by Matchbox Twenty started playing on the radio? Only moments later, Allan started fighting with some construction workers who were attempting to build a wall around Barbieland (and failing to do so since it was going up), but according to Cera, it was Affleck who was originally supposed to be in that scene rather than him. As he told The AV Club:
Considering that Barbie featured a cameo from John Cena as a Kenmaid, i.e. a merman Ken, the prospect of simply seeing Ben Affleck in it doesn’t sound weird to me. What I’m more perplexed about is how he specifically would have fit into the movie. If it was Affleck who was supposed to fight those construction workers rather than Michael Cera, then who was his character supposed to be? One of the Kens who didn’t side with Ryan Gosling’s Ken? Could he somehow have been another Allan, even though there’s only supposed to be one of them in Barbieland at a time?
I’m hoping that Margot Robbie or director/co-writer Greta Gerwig can shed more light someday on what this Ben Affleck scene precisely entailed, because I need a clearer picture on what could have been (like that deleted scene inspired by Jaws). As for why the cameo didn’t work out, Michael Cera attributed it to scheduling issues, saying:
The movie Michael Cera’s referencing is likely Air, the biographical sports drama about the creation of the Air Jordan which began filming in June 2022, three months after Barbie began principal photography. Affleck also played Nike co-founder and CEO Phil Knight in Air opposite Matt Damon’s Sonny Vaccaro. Back to Barbie, Cera also mentioned that he and the rest of the cast and crew didn’t find out Affleck could appear until “the 11th hour,” which required some last-minute planning:
Michael Cera added that during the rehearsal for this fight scene that was initially “never part of Allan’s journey,” they improvised a moment where Allan murdered one of the construction workers. It was meant to just be a joke that he didn’t expect Greta Gerwig to keep in, but sure enough, there it is in the final version. To paint Allan in a slightly better light though, that construction worker is still moving around a little on the ground after Allan’s done with him, so we don’t need to worry about Cera’s character being a murderer.
Barbie can be streamed now with a Max subscription, and we’ll learn if it takes home any Oscars when the next Academy Awards ceremony airs Sunday, March 10 on ABC. Michael Cera’s next movie, Sacramento, doesn’t have a release date yet, and Ben Affleck is attached as a producer to movies like The Instigators, Unstoppable and Small Things Like These.