The Fall Guy Is The Top Secret (Honorary) Third Chapter In The Barbenheimer Trilogy

The "Barbenheimer" phenomenon was one of the few bright spots in a rotten year for the film industry, which was marred by a pack of greedy, morally bankrupt executives attempting to strongarm the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television Radio Artists into striking deals that would've financially damaged many of these unions' members while kicking open the door to all manner of technological abuses (/News covered the entire labor battle until its ultimate resolution on November 8, 2023). For those of us who've loved movies our whole lives, and believe that motion picture artists should be fairly compensated (so, y'know, they can afford to make more movies), "Barbenheimer" was a welcome reminder of why this battle mattered.

It was also just a fun release schedule quirk that pitted a deathly serious drama from a stellar filmmaker against a wildly inventive celebration of an iconic doll from a terrific director whose sensibility is, thus far, thrillingly difficult to pin down.

If you thought the Barbenheimer talk would die down after last month's Academy Awards ceremony, you were so very wrong. With David Leitch's "The Fall Guy" set to release on May 3, 2024, we're already in the throes of more Barbenheimer buzz due to the action extravaganza's star pairing of Ryan Gosling (our beloved Ken from "Barbie") and Emily Blunt (Katherine Oppenheimer from "Oppenheimer"). And in the silly spirit of this cinematic mash-up, you could consider "The Fall Guy" to be the honorary third installment in the ongoing "Barbenheimer" saga.

Barbie initially threw a wrench in the filming of The Fall Guy

In a recent interview with Total Film, Blunt discussed how "Barbenheimer" was completely unpredictable while she was shooting "The Fall Guy" with Gosling:

"When he and I worked together [shooting 'The Fall Guy'], the Barbenheimer thing hadn't been coined, obviously. They were two very separate entities. I think it was really wonderful and really funny to us when they got sandwiched (together)."

In fact, according to "The Fall Guy" producer Kelly McCormick, Gosling's commitment to "Barbie" created a tiny amount of tension for their team (and might've been the reason the actor was reluctant to tackle the role of Ken in Gerwig's movie). Per McCormick:

"The funny part is, we had to wait for 'Barbie' to finish shooting before we could shoot because of Ryan. There were so many small frustrations like, 'Really? Is he going to go off and do that Barbie movie?' It was more from the studio than us, even. And now we're like, 'Oh my God, he made that Barbie movie! That was a good thing to wait for.'"

As for Gosling, this whole series of events remains a source of tremendous amusement.

According to Ryan Gosling, Barbeheimer was no accident

In the same Total Film interview, Gosling revealed that there was a wholly unplanned incident during the summer of 2023 that literally inserted "The Fall Guy" into the "Barbenheimer" narrative:

"[T]here was a moment when 'Barbie' was playing in the theater, and 'Oppenheimer' was playing two theaters down. And in the middle theater, between both of them, on the fault line of both 'Barbie' and 'Oppenheimer,' 'The Fall Guy' was test-screening. So little did people know that 'Barbenheimer' was happening in between them. [Laughs]"

We'll have to wait until May to find out if "The Fall Guy" can benefit from the "Barbenheimer" brand, though /News's Jacob Hall was certainly bullish on the film's crowd-pleasing qualities when he saw "The Fall Guy" at last month's SXSW Film Festival. If the film does deliver commercially, Gosling will have you know that its success was by design.

"Well, it was all a big marketing ploy," he told Total Film. "Because — a lot of people don't know this — 'Barbenheimer' was the working title of 'The Fall Guy.' It is the actual 'Barbenheimer.'"

Regardless of how you feel about this spectacle, for the time being, you'll just have to accept that "Barbenheimer" is going nowhere.