On the Set with Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling: An Interview with Davide Albonetti, Ken’s Barbie Dancer

Davide is 28 years old, lives in London and works as a dancer. He moved from Senigallia to the UK to fulfill his dream of becoming a choreographer on the international stage. His curriculum already has important experiences in advertising, video clips and, a few weeks ago, with Take That, in front of seventy thousand people gathered in Hyde Park for a concert of a famous British band. A bit of luck and the talent of a dancer allowed him enter the cast of the film of the year The cinematic hit of summer 2023, Barbie is already a box office blockbuster and is off to a strong start for the 2024 Oscar season.

Davide Albonetti is real one of the many Kens that inhabit Barbieland, along with stars Ryan Gosling and Simu Liu. His name appears in the end credits, and knowing his “beach outfit” (bright yellow tennis suit, blue terry cuffs and headband, blue tennis racket and yellow bucket), it is not difficult to identify him among the main characters in many scenes, especially during time of the Great Battle of the Kens.

Davide worked for weeks on the set of the film, elbow to elbow with fellow dancers Barbie and Ken, along with Hollywood star cast and director Greta Gerwig. Now that his NDA (a confidentiality agreement signed by all actors demanding silence) has expired, we had a long conversation with him, who told us in detail backstory of the film, “which has been a constant source of inspiration” for the dancer.

You can also read Barbie review.

I danced with Ryan Gosling on the set of Barbie: The Davide Albonetti Story.

How did you get into the Barbie cast? Did you pass the audition?

David Albonetti No, I’m very lucky. I can say that I was chosen by the director Greta Gerwig and the choreographer of the film. When the castings for Barbie were held, only representatives of several specialized agencies were invited to participate, of which I was not a member. I heard that the auditions lasted all day and the selection process was very demanding, divided into three rounds. Candidates were to dance numbers in jazz style.

However, shortly before filming, the director wanted to increase the number of Kens, so the agencies were again asked to send books with photos and videos of possible candidates. In the meantime, I joined one of these agencies. Greta saw my photos, the choreographer liked my videos: so I entered the film.

What was a typical day on the Barbie set like?

FROM – The film was shot at Warner Bros Studios in London, so the time needed to travel around the English metropolis and arrive on set had to be taken into account. The alarm clock usually rang at four to get to the set for the first call of the day, when we were still a little sleepy. Greta was already on the set, preparing everything from the first rays of dawn. Margot Robbie was also on the call: she is charming and without makeup, but it was clear that the work requires a lot of effort from her too.

When everyone gathered, we moved on to makeup. This step was not easy for Barbie, because the image of the “plastic doll” required make-up of every resident of Barbieland from head to toe. On set, there was a battalion of 50 makeup artists who covered us from head to toe with foundation to even out our skin. I have several tattoos on my left arm and it took a good 40 minutes to hide them. In addition, every 2 or 3 days it was necessary to completely shave, because all Barbies and Kens are completely hairless.

When everyone was ready, we began to wait until we were called into some kind of waiting room. The job of appearing on set is one of long waits, because you may end up filming for even just 10 minutes and still be around for days. However, the Barbie set was anything but boring.

I think the look was impressive.

FROM – I liked it very much, the first days we were all really amazed. Barbie’s houses, the beach, and other places in Barbieland were built in 1:1 scale by Warner Bros. Studios. In between takes, I observed the details of the space around me: it was clear that he was behind an incredible job.

What impression did Greta Gerwig, then director, make on you?

FROM – She inspired me both professionally and personally. She never missed a day on set: she was already there when I arrived and stayed until the end of the day. It’s not obvious. Big names in the world of show business – whether they are directors, choreographers, stars – sometimes, when the opportunity arises, they are not averse to being late or leaving assistants and deputies to do work on the set. They do what they like. Greta, on the other hand, spent days checking the footage, rehearsing and rehearsing with her assistants. Maybe he came up to you and said: “I have a hole in this scene, let’s try again, and now you are moving from here to there.” Due to his constant attention to detail, one of the scenes, the battle of the Kens, took weeks to complete.

Who surprised you the most on set?

FROM – Will Ferrell is an incredible improviser. I was on set when the final scene of the movie was filmed in Barbieland when the doll maker arrived. Greta Gerwig gave him carte blanche, asked him to improvise. We did I don’t know how many takes, and every time he came up with something amazing, so much so that it was very difficult for us extras to remain serious.

Did you manage to communicate with the main characters Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie?

FROM – Yes, and they both surprised me with their modesty. Working in the entertainment world, I can say that this is not an obvious factor, on the contrary.

Margo is also a film producer, so she was on set and strived to provide the perfect working environment for everyone. In the morning she came without makeup and a little tired, but always greeted everyone or smiled. In between takes, he chatted with us, wanted to know our names. She is a really charming, sociable, easy-going person. He made one very gentle gesture to organize a little surprise for us once a week: at the entrance to the studio, we found this van that made waffles and pancakes with the words “Love, Margo.”

Ryan Gosling has the same modesty, but the opposite character. He is a very shy and shy person, very quiet. I was amazed to see how charismatic and effusive he became as soon as filming began, only to be very shy between one take and the next. On the set, his wife and daughters occasionally came to visit him, and he tried to spend his free time with them, who watched him shoot.

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