After Missing Out On Barbie Role, Sylvester Stallone Explains Why He Wants Ryan Gosling To Play The Next Rambo

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Written By Maya Cantina

Sylvester Stallone is an icon with many legendary films like the Rocky saga, the First Blood series, and Demolition Man. He’s known for taking on a lot of physically demanding roles, as he’s flexed his muscles through playing some of our greatest action heroes. He apparently almost took on another iconic role, as one of the Kens in Barbie. Stallone recently opened up about his near-cameo in the summer’s biggest movie, his hilarious connection to Ryan Gosling and why he thinks the La La Land actor would make a great Rambo. 

The 77-year-old actor sat down with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show (as shared on YouTube) to talk about his family’s reality show, The Family Stallone, which is now streaming for Paramount+ subscribers. Of course, the talk show host brought up his famous movie roles as well as his unintentional contributions to the Barbie movie. Apparently, Stallone was almost in the 2023 blockbuster, but scheduling conflicts prevented him from doing so. As for playing Ken himself, Sly said that he thinks he should leave the Kenergy to Ryan Gosling. He said: 

I met him at a dinner, and obviously, we’re opposites. He’s good looking, I’m not. That’s how it works. Seriously, can you imagine me as Ken? [Moans] It doesn’t work at all.

While Ryan Gosling may have been perfect for Ken, the Expendables star shouldn’t sell himself short. Plus, his on-screen persona is actually a big part of the movie and ends up becoming a major aspect of Ken’s reinvented persona in Barbie. During the film, Ken sees several images of Stallone via Rocky and Rambo posters, which help inform his views of masculinity and the patriarchy. Ken’s look in the later scenes is also inspired by Stallone, as the bandana is a signature accessory of John Rambo. Also, the white mink coat was famously worn by the actor in the ’80s. Stallone may not think he would make a good Ken, but the character wouldn’t be what he was without Stallone. 

The action star later revealed that while sharing dinner with Ryan Gosling, the Notebook actor opened up about his love of Rambo as a character and how much the character played a role during his formative years. As described, Gosling had an intense love for the character and showed it in some wild ways when he was a kid. Though Sylvester Stallone seems impressed:

He goes, ‘I was fascinated by Rambo, and I used to go to school dressed as Rambo. And people would chase me away, and I still didn’t stop. And I, you know, vacation as Rambo.’ He just kept saying that he had a lot of affiliation with Rambo. And I thought, ‘You know, this is interesting. If I ever pass the baton, I’ll pass it on to him, because he loves the character.’

On the surface, Ryan Gosling may feel like unconventional casting for Rambo but, now that Stallone has signed off on it, I’m starting to see it. Gosling worked out big time for his roles in Barbie and in Crazy, Stupid, Love, and I could totally see him bulking up again to play such an iconic role. He’s also brought back franchises before, as Harrison Ford metaphorically passed the torch to Gosling when he played the lead in Blade Runner 2049. So maybe with Stallone’s blessing he’d be up to take on this other role. This is all just fun speculation, of course, but fingers crossed that this evolves into something real. 

In the meantime you can see Ryan Gosling channel Sylvester Stallone into his Kenergy in Barbie, which is now streaming with a Max subscription. Fans can also revisit Stallone’s decade-defining performance as Rambo in First Blood, which is available to rent on Amazon.  

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