Scott Evans is One of Barbie’s Kens

Written by | Entertainment, Screen

Scott Evans has long been something of a footnote to his action star brother Chris (Captain America, Fantastic Four, etc). But that may be about to change with the premiere of the star-studded summer blockbuster Barbie which finds Scott as one of the Kens alongside Simu Liu, Ncuti Gatwa, Kingsley Ben-Adir and of course Ryan Gosling.

Scott described the fateful day when he got the call from his agent that the film’s co-writer and director Greta Gerwig wanted to talk to him. It had been a month since he submitted his self-taped audition, but knowing the caliber of A-list actors involved, he figured it was a long-shot. In a bit of foreshadowing and life imitating art, Scott was rollerblading when he got the call. As anyone who has seen the trailer for the movie knows, rollerblading is very much a part of the Barbie world.

With a diverse and inclusive cast showcasing the full spectrum of the rainbow, this could be the “woke” summer blockbuster that will surely have Ron DeSantis’ panties in a knot. When I first spoke with Scott 3 months in advance of the July 21st premiere, he was under strict instructions not to reveal any plot details about the movie. Scott was able to share a bit of the backstory to landing the role.  It turns out he had a chance meeting with the film’s star Margot Robbie at an Oscar’s after-party long before she had been attached to play Barbie.

Margot and I met on the dance floor and we danced the night away. I wasn’t thinking anything of it at the time. I don’t go to those parties to network. I’m just gonna be myself and have fun. The takeaway from that night was that she thought I was an incredible dancer, and fast-forward years later when it comes time to cast the Kens, she must’ve mentioned it to Greta. Finally, my partying ways paid off.

Did you have any kind of dance training?

Growing up, we actually had a dance floor in our basement. My mother was a dancer. She tried to give us some tap lessons, but I was more of a singer. And then when I went away to college, I started taking dance more seriously. I did some showcases. But I’m not a professional dancer by any means.

Scott recalls his very first day of rehearsal and his reaction to seeing the incredible diversity among the cast.

It was so inclusive, the diversity in the room. All ages, genders, sizes, shapes, colors. It was one of the most incredible feelings to be in a room that feels like how it should be everywhere. Back when Barbie was first created, there was much less diversity. And now, I feel like every other week, Mattel is releasing a new Barbie. There isn’t a single person out there who won’t be able to see themselves in one of these characters. And that’s exactly what it was like being on set.

There has also been some speculation that since Evans is openly gay that he must be the “Gay Ken.” But Scott was quick to set the record straight, so to speak.

There’s no sexuality when it comes to Barbie or Ken. It’s funny, when the promotional posters came out, everybody’s reaction to mine was “oh that’s the gay Ken.” But there’s not even a hint of the character’s sexuality in the movie. I don’t mind being the gay Ken if that’s what people want to think, but that was never part of it.

Fun fact: When asked whether he played with Barbie or Ken, or G.I. Joe as a kid, Scott replied that he played with his sister’s My Little Pony. For context, My Little Pony was launched in 1982, which explains how this fell squarely in Scott’s childhood. Full disclosure: My Little Pony was created by Hasbro, a competitor to Mattel, the home of Barbie.

In the absence of much backstory on the film’s plot, there has been a lot of reaction to the stylized posters that have been released of the various actors playing Ken and Barbie. Did they try to elicit a specific look or vibe during your photo shoot?

They put on some Beach Boys music and just said to have fun with it. That particular pose was just me not knowing what to do and making a joke. Of course, you make jokes and that’s the one they’re gonna use. Since I was wearing a cowboy hat, everybody assumed my character must be Cowboy Ken. And I was like, as long as people are talking about it, that’s great.

Scott has been pinching himself ever since as he recalls what a dream job it was being in England for the shoot.

I was there for three months. But for 2, almost 3 weeks, before we even started filming, Greta just wanted the Kens to have some bonding time, which we did and it was great. I was like, this is a job? I get to wake up every day and hang out in the gym with these guys and then go dance with everybody? The dynamic with all of us, we ended up becoming such a family. We had game nights and outings. We went to see a show on a party bus one night. If I could’ve done it for another 17 years, I would have.

Who were most of your scenes with?

The majority of my scenes are with the Kens because we’re all sort of a unit. But the movie is really Barbie’s story of self-discovery and self-realization. A friend of mine was reading the GQ article where Ryan Gosling describes Ken as almost disposable. And that’s kind of how it is in Barbie-land. It’s Barbie’s Dream House, it’s Barbie’s Corvette. And Ken is kind of like the sidepiece. And that’s reflected in the movie. Not in a way to make them feel bad or anything. It’s Barbie’s world and we’re all just living in it.

What was it like working with Ryan Gosling?

Ryan was just the nicest, most professional actor. You hear stories about nightmare people on set who show up late for call and keep to themselves. Ryan doesn’t leave set and Margo too. They’re like sitting with us. And when we were doing coverage, they’ll be there saying their lines for you. You expect them to be like, don’t talk to me. I’ll be in my trailer. But that wasn’t the case at all.

While the gag order has since been eased, Scott was still somewhat guarded when it came to revealing any substantive details. Suffice it to say, he’s thrilled with the outcome.

I just saw a cut of it. It was getting to a point where the stress of not knowing was too much. So they reached out and put together a screening and I got to watch it the other night and it’s pretty beautiful. And I’m in it. I wasn’t cut, so I’m very excited.

How much screen time do you have, ballpark?

I think more than people would expect. I speak, I’m there, and a lot of the time, I’m standing next to Ryan. Anytime I can squeeze into his shots, I will.

Was there much improvisation? Or was it pretty tightly scripted?

We would be shooting a scene and Greta would come running in with new dialogue. She would let us try things, and if something wasn’t working, she’d go in a different direction. There was one particular day where I was in a scene and I only had one quick thing to say. It was the end of the day and people were getting ready to go home and she handed me this page of dialogue with a lot of big words. Words I didn’t necessarily know what they meant in context, without giving too much away. Luckily I’m very good at memorizing. But there was no pressure, so it was just fun trying different things and seeing what worked.

Did you do anything special to get into character for this role?

You mean, besides a full body wax, a spray tan and highlights? That really helped me embody it. It definitely gave me a whole new level of respect for people who wax anything regularly. The societal pressures of having to do that need to go away because it is painful and not fun. But it was worth it. I would’ve done it every day for this job.

Since Barbie completed filming, Scott has been riding the wave of this post-Barbie career boost, landing a recurring role in the 2nd season of the Amazon Prime series  With Love. Like many actors who have become household names, Scott got his start in daytime television which instilled the kind of work habits that serve him well to this day.

I got cast in One Life to Live straight out of college. It was only supposed to be a few episodes, but they kept bringing me back and it turned into 4 years. Soaps get a bad rap, but it was a great first job. It’s like acting boot camp, because they have to produce 5 hours of television per week. Some days you might only get one take to get it right. So I got really good at memorizing and it was very good preparation for the rest of the business.

There was some fairly explosive behind-the-scenes drama regarding a co-star who took issue with the gay storyline because of her own religious beliefs.

One of the actors that played the mother of one of the characters was not into the gay storyline. I was kind of nervous at first, since she had seniority, having been on the show longer than I had. So I wondered, am I gonna get the axe?

Instead, she got the axe and Scott’s character went on to make history in one of the first queer sex scenes on daytime TV.

That whole experience just proved how important it was to get those storylines out there and provided even more motivation to do the storyline justice. The fans of soap operas are a very unique group of people in that they get very invested in the characters. You think you’re just making a show, or doing a job. But the letters I would get from fans showed the impact it was having and made it all even more worthwhile.

Were you professionally “out” at the time?

Yeah. It’s funny, I always get the question, when did you decide you wanted to be an “out” actor. I never had a moment where that even crossed my mind. I knew when I came out, that it would potentially have an effect on my career. And I know there are still actors who are closeted or keep that private – which is fine. I knew that I wanted to be an “out” person and I didn’t want to have to deal with that. So I was “out” but I never made a big deal about it. I’m a gay man, so cast me or not. It’s called acting. I felt it was important to be one of those actors who was just like – this is me. Visibility is important. If it affected my career, so be it. I think the importance it would do in the real world outweighed any personal or professional blowback.

Last modified: July 20, 2023