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Simu Liu says Ncuti Gatwa didn't even tell his Barbie co-stars about his shiny new Doctor Who gig

The incoming Time Lord kept his casting secret for two months

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Ncuti Gatwa
Ncuti Gatwa
Photo: Amy Sussman (Getty Images)

While Greta Gerwig’s forthcoming Barbie movie has been shrouded in secrecy, one of its stars has had a little extra thing to keep quiet about. Earlier this month, it was announced that Ncuti Gatwa would be stepping into the TARDIS as the 14th Doctor.

In a talk promoting his new memoir We Were Dreamers in London, Barbie co-star Simu Liu revealed that Gatwa kept his new Doctor Who gig a secret until the official announcement, even on the seemingly tight-knit set. Liu and Gatwa are rumored to be playing Ken dolls alongside Ryan Gosling.


“[He] didn’t tell anyone a thing,” Liu recalls, as reported by Variety. “And then all of a sudden over the weekend he was announced. We came to work on Monday, we were like ‘Dude, how long have you been holding this in for?’ And he’s like, ‘Two months.’”

Of course, Liu has had to do his share of secret-keeping, though he might need some tips from Gatwa in the future. The Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings star shared that he couldn’t even hold his entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in for four days before his casting was revealed to the public, cracking just after getting off the phone with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige.


Gatwa’s casting as as the beloved Time Lord certainly came as a surprise; Olly Alexander and Hugh Grant were previously rumored to be taking on the role. The Sex Education scene-stealer’s profile immediately rose dramatically.

“He had to get security in and around not only his place of residence, but the places of residence of his entire family,” Liu says.

With the return of showrunner Russell T. Davies, who initially relaunched Doctor Who in 2005, the classic sci-fi series is clearly being shaken up. It has also been announced that David Tennant and Catherine Tate, who appeared during Davies’ initial run, will be returning to the show. Yasmin Finney is reportedly playing a new version of the Doctor’s former companion Rose Tyler.

Gatwa will be making his debut as the Doctor following Jodie Whittaker’s regeneration at the end of this year.