Simu Liu Says Ncuti Gatwa Kept Doctor Who Casting Secret Even From Barbie Co-Stars

The world of Doctor Who made history earlier this month, with the revelation that actor Ncuti Gatwa has been cast as the latest incarnation of The Doctor, making him the first person of color to be cast in the iconic role. Gatwa is best known for is role in the Netflix series Sex Education, and will also have a role in the upcoming live-action Barbie movie, which is currently filming for a 2023 release. As it turns out, the news of Gatwa even surprised some of his Barbie co-stars — particularly, Shang-Chi star Simu Liu. While speaking at a London event for the release of his memoir We Were Dreamers, Liu revealed that none of Gatwa's co-stars were aware of the news, despite the actor having kept it secret for two months.

"[He] didn't tell anyone a thing," Liu explained. "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.'"

"I would have combusted," Liu laughed, before adding, "He had to get security in and around not only his place of residence, but the places of residence of his entire family."

Gatwa is set to play the Fourteenth Doctor in the upcoming 60th anniversary season of Doctor Who, which will be showrun by returning series alum Russell T. Davies. 

"There aren't quite the words to describe how I'm feeling," Gatwa says in a press release. "A mix of deeply honoured, beyond excited and of course a little bit scared. This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself, and each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will endeavour my upmost to do the same.  Russell T Davies is almost as iconic as the Doctor himself and being able to work with him is a dream come true. His writing is dynamic, exciting, incredibly intelligent and fizzing with danger. An actor's metaphorical playground. The entire team have been so welcoming and truly give their hearts to the show. And so as much as it's daunting, I'm aware I'm joining a really supportive family. Unlike the Doctor, I may only have one heart but I am giving it all to this show."

"The future is here and it's Ncuti!" Davies added. "Sometimes talent walks through the door and it's so bright and bold and brilliant, I just stand back in awe and thank my lucky stars. Ncuti dazzled us, seized hold of the Doctor and owned those TARDIS keys in seconds. It's an honour to work with him, and a hoot, I can't wait to get started. I'm sure you're dying to know more, but we're rationing ourselves for now, with the wonderful Jodie's epic finale yet to come. But I promise you, 2023 will be spectacular!"

Gatwa's debut as Doctor Who is set to occur in 2023. Meanwhile, Barbie will be released in theaters on July 21, 2023.