Barbie: Who Is Allan? 4 Things to Know About the Controversial Doll

By Klein Felt Posted:
Michael Cera as Allan in Barbie movie

In a world of Barbies and Kens, Michael Cera's Allan stood out in Barbie, as the big-screen blockbuster brought the controversial doll to life. 

Cera's take on the infamous Mattel doll shocked moviegoers when he popped up in Greta Gerwig's cinematic take on the iconic toy line; Allan is a deep cut in the brand's history. 

4 Facts About Barbie's Allan

Allan Michael Cera Barbie
Warner Bros.

Allan Caused Controversy With Ken Relationship Rumors

First introduced in 1964, Allan has had a troubled history, being mired in controversy since his debut. 

The doll was brought to store shelves during the Barbie renaissance of the 1960s as "Ken's best friend" with the notable feature that all Ken's clothes fit Allan too. 

However, some wondered if perhaps Ken and Allan were a little more than friends, with speculation popping up at the time that the doll's release insinuated the pair were in a homosexual relationship. 

Mattel never commented on the idea of a Ken/Allan romance, but Allan was mysteriously discontinued only a year after his first release in 1965, not popping back up until nearly 30 years later. 

Allan Married Barbie’s Pregnant Doll, Midge

In 1991 - after decades in the Barbie vault - Allan came back into the fray, this time married to the controversial Midge doll. 

While the pair were reintroduced as newlyweds with the Wedding Day Allan and Wedding Day Midge set, they would go on to be a part of another controversy in the form of the Happy Family line in 2003. 

These new Allan and Midge dolls (Allan sporting a new name spelling, "Alan") featured Midge with a pregnant belly and a cardboard baby cut out that could be removed from a magnetic detachable womb. 

The Pregnant Midge was eventually pulled off retailers' shelves as some thought the toy could promote teen pregnancy. 

Like Allan, Pregnant Midge was also referenced in the Barbie movie, with Promising Young Woman and Sultburn director Emerald Fennell playing the character.

Michael Cera’s Agent Almost Lost Him the Role of Allan

According to Allan star Michael Cera, he almost did not make it into the Barbie film. 

The former Arrested Development actor told GQ (via Deadline) in the lead-up to the film's release that his agent declined the initial offer to play the controversial Barbie character. 

He remarked, "It was a kind of very last-minute casting," and that after getting the initial offer, his agent called him to say he had told the powers that be that "[he] probably wouldn’t want to do it because [he'd] probably [not] want to go to London:"

“It was a kind of very last-minute casting. My manager got a call checking on my availability for it, and he called me and he said, ‘I got a call about this movie. It’s the 'Barbie' movie. Greta Gerwig’s directing it, and it’s filming in London for four months or something, so I told them you probably wouldn’t want to do it because you probably don’t want to go to London.’”

Cera said he came back with "How can I not do it? I need to do it," resulting in the actor getting cast in the film:

“I was like, ‘What! What do you mean? Call them back!’ He didn’t like blow it or anything, but he’s like, ‘I managed their expectations that you might not want to do it.’ I was like, ’How can I not do it? I need to do it!’”

Allan’s Barbie Doll Sells for a LOT of Money Now

While already a collector's item, Allan's inclusion in the Barbie film has steeply increased the dolls' price amongst Barbie enthusiasts. 

Cera's portrayal of the character greatly increased the popularity and general awareness of the doll, making boxed Allan toys a premium item. 

TMX reported (via Ladbible) that Allan dolls were selling for as low as $35 USD in the weeks before the movie was released. 

However, since then, prices rose sharply with dolls regularly selling for upwards of $300 USD. Some have even gone for more than $600 USD on online auction sites like eBay, thanks to Greta Gerwig's movie putting the character on the big screen for the first time. 

Barbie is streaming now on Max

- In This Article: Barbie
Release Date
July 21, 2023
Issa Rae
Kate McKinnon
Ryan Gosling
- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.