PRETTY IN PINK: Barbie movie caused global paint shortage

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Think pink — a lot of pink.

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The new Barbie movie caused an international shortage of pink paint for the demanding set design.

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Director Greta Gerwig wanted to stay true to the iconic doll by slathering the set in pink paint.

“I wanted the pinks to be very bright, and everything to be almost too much,” Gerwig told Architectural Digest.

As a result, construction on set using the fluorescent shade of Rosco paint caused the shortage.

“The world ran out of pink,” Gerwig laughed.

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Gerwig enlisted production designer Sarah Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer to design the Barbie Dreamhouse – two women who had never before owned a Barbie.

“The scale was quite strange,” Spencer recalled, explaining how she and Greenwood adjusted the rooms’ proportions to 23% smaller than human size for the set.

“The ceiling is actually quite close to one’s head, and it only takes a few paces to cross the room,” Greta described. “It has the odd effect of making the actors seem big in the space but small overall.”

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She added: “There are no walls and no doors. Dreamhouses assume that you never have anything you wish was private — there is no place to hide.”

And while CGI could have worked in a pinch, and saved some pink for the rest of the world, Gerwig instead wanted to create a feeling of “authentic artificiality” for the set and even used a hand-painted backdrop of the sky and the mountains rather than get a technical assist.

“We were literally creating the alternate universe of Barbie Land,” the director of Little Women and Lady Bird shared. “Everything needed to be tactile, because toys are, above all, things you touch.”


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“I wanted to capture what was so ridiculously fun about the Dreamhouses,” Gerwig explained, adding she insisted everything on set had to be pink because “maintaining the ‘kid-ness’ was paramount.”

She asked: “Why walk down stairs when you can slide into your pool? Why trudge up stairs when you take an elevator that matches your dress?”

Barbie features a star-studded cast including Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken. It hits theatres on July 21.


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