The Story Behind How Barbie's Greta Gerwig And Ryan Gosling Came Up With His Hilarious 'Sublime!' Line

 Ryan Gosling as Ken in Barbie.
Ryan Gosling as Ken in Barbie.

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie is filled with memorable moments, but one of the most quotable comes from Ryan Gosling’s Ken during the third act of the film. After Margot Robbie’s Stereotypical Barbie and some of the others hatch a plan to reclaim Barbie Land, she visits Ken to say she wants to become his “long-term long-distance low-commitment casual girlfriend” to which he goes to the other room of his Mojo Dojo Casa House to yell “Sublime!” How the heck did the Barbie filmmakers think of that?

It’s a simple but effective word that has gone absolutely viral along with just about everything else in Barbie since its summer release. When writer/director Greta Gerwig recently reflected on the big hit, she shared how “Sublime!” made its way into the comedy. In her words:

Ryan had the idea of [Ken] having a private moment that she [Barbie] can hear. Because, of course, there’s no walls or privacy in Barbie Land. And then I will give myself credit, I came up with ‘sublime.’ I kept thinking, what’s the funniest word? I kept going back to ‘sublime.’ It’s the oddest word. But I let him do lots of things, because, why not? He did some very long sentences that he screamed. One was ‘Finally! My rainbow after the storm!’

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Margot Robbie at the end of Barbie
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While speaking to Variety, Gerwig said that the moment was a combination of Ryan Gosling and her own ideas. The La La Land star had the hilarious thought to have Ken go into the other room and say something to poke fun at the fact that Barbie Land isn’t a private place. However, it was the Little Women director who thought it’d be funny if he said: “sublime!” On set, it sounds like the actor did a ton of takes of the scene with a whole bunch of variations, but the single word really worked the best.

During the recent interview, Gerwig also spoke about how the movie itself came together, sharing that she and her partner (in filmmaking and life) Noah Baumbach wrote the script when the COVID-19 pandemic had people spending a lot more time in their houses. She said they decided to do something “outrageous,” never thinking it would actually get made. Once they were really happy with it, they decided they needed to “protect” the movie which led to her agreeing to direct.

When Margot Robbie first read the script, she recalled her first reaction was thinking it was “genius,” but she also told her husband that it was “a shame that we’re never going to be able to make this movie.” Obviously, they very much did make Barbie, silly lines and all, and it broke a ton of records at the box office to become the 2023 movie schedule's biggest hit thus far.

And among the Barbie cast list, Ryan Gosling’s Ken has been a huge hit, as you can see in reviews about Barbie and the public's response to the film. Between the hit song “I’m Just Ken,” to “Kenough” becoming a part of our pop culture’s vocabulary, Ken has earned the right to yell “Sublime!” in the corner.