Michael Cera says he ‘almost died’ on Barbie set after Hollywood star dropped out

The 35-year-old actor revealed the set crew ‘sent a nurse’ to see him after the incident

Jabed Ahmed
Friday 16 February 2024 09:58 GMT
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Barbie star Michael Cera has claimed that he “almost died” on the set of Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-nominated movie after a last-minute change to a fight scene.

The Canadian actor, 35, stars as Allan opposite Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in the live-action 2023 film about the popular Mattel children’s dolls.

Barbie received rave reviews from critics and was a box office smash, breaking a record to become the highest-grossing movie by a solo female director (Gerwig).

However, Cera has revealed that the making of the movie wasn’t all smooth sailing.

Discussing the film on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, the Superbad actor claimed that disaster struct when Hollywood star Ben Affleck had to drop out of a fight scene cameo, due to his commitments to sports drama Air.

“I think Ben wanted to do it, but he was directing his movie, but they didn’t find that out until the 11th hour,” Cera said. “They’re like, ‘Okay, Ben is out. Something has to happen here, so you’re gonna fight them.’”

Cera recalled that he struggled with the choreography of the fight scene as he had just recovered from a bout of Covid.

Cera’s character Allan during a fight scene

“I had to jump in with the stunt team. I had just got over Covid and they had me training and I almost died just doing a warm-up,” he said. “I had to lie down in the trailer and they sent a nurse to see me.”

He joked that the fight scene with Affleck, which would have taken place while Allan and the Barbies fight against multiple Kens, was “never part of Allan’s journey”.

“In the rehearsal, we did the thing where I murdered the guy with the shovel, and it was like a joke,” he said. “And then we were like, ‘Greta is not going to let me murder someone in the movie,’ and it’s in the movie.”

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Michael Cera claims Ben Affleck was going to cameo in the ‘Barbie’ movie

Barbie is up for a total of eight Academy Awards at this year’s Oscars, including a Best Leading Actor nomination for Gosling and Best Supporting Actress for America Ferrera.

However, the Oscar nominations sparked controversy after it emerged that the women-led project had failed to receive a Best Director nod for Gerwig, or a Best Leading Actress nomination for Robbie.

In response to the snubs, Gosling wrote a scathing open letter that said there was “no Ken without Barbie, and there is no Barbie movie without Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie, the two people most responsible for this history-making, globally-celebrated film”.

“No recognition would be possible for anyone on the film without their talent, grit and genius,” he continued.

“To say that I’m disappointed that they are not nominated in their respective categories would be an understatement.”

Gosling (centre) as Ken in the Barbie movie

“Obviously I think Greta should be nominated as a director because what she did is a once-in-a-career, once-in-a-lifetime thing, what she pulled off, it really is,” Robbie said in her own statement. “But it’s been an incredible year for all the films.

“We set out to do something that would shift culture, affect culture, just make some sort of impact,” she said. “And it’s already done that, and some, way more than we ever dreamed it would. And that is truly the biggest reward that could come out of all of this.”

Barbie is also nominated for Best Picture, Costume Design, Production Design, Adapted Screenplay and Original Song at the 2024 Oscars. It landed two nominations in the latter category for its two songs, “I’m Just Ken” and “What Was I Made For?”.

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