Greta Gerwig’s upcoming Barbie film required so much pink paint during construction that it wiped out an entire company’s global supply.
Speaking to Architectural Digest, Gerwig and the film’s production designer Sarah Greenwood, spoke about the construction of Barbieland, which is almost entirely fluorescent pink, from the lifesize versions of the doll’s famous “Dreamhouse” to the roads and lamp-posts.
In the interview, Greenwood, a six-time Oscar nominee, said the film had caused an international shortage of pink paint. “The world ran out of pink,” she told the magazine.
While some media outlets repeated the claim without qualification, Lauren Proud, vice-president of global marketing at Rosco, the paint company used by the film, shared extra context with the Los Angeles Times.
Proud confirmed the film “used as much paint as we had”, but qualified that production on Barbie had coincided with wider global supply chain problems during Covid-19, as well as extreme weather in Texas in early 2021, which had affected vital materials used to create the paint.
“There was this shortage and then we gave them everything we could — I don’t know they can claim credit,” she said, but acknowledged: “They did clean us out on paint.”
In the Architectural Digest interview, Gerwig said the bright pink shade was important in “maintaining the ‘kid-ness’” of the film’s aesthetic, and that Barbieland’s design was inspired by the Kaufmann House in Palm Springs, Wayne Thiebaud paintings, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and An American in Paris.
“I wanted the pinks to be very bright, and everything to be almost too much,” Gerwig said, adding that she didn’t want to “forget what made me love Barbie when I was a little girl.”
The set designers had secured just enough paint for production on the film to go ahead, which was mostly shot at Warner Bros Studios Leavesden in the UK.
Barbie, which stars Margot Robbie in the titular role and Ryan Gosling as the doll’s beau Ken, also stars Will Ferrell, Simu Liu, Dua Lipa, Helen Mirren, Issa Rae, America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Michael Cera and Ncuti Gatwa. The film is released on 21 July worldwide.
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