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Barbie, 2023(Film Still)

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie drained the global supply of pink paint

‘The world [ran] out of pink,’ said the film’s production designer

On the Renaissance track “Cozy”, Beyoncé instructs her Beyhive to “paint the world pussy pink” – and it seems that Greta Gerwig may have taken that a bit too literally. In a recent interview with Architectural Digest, the Barbie director sat down with the film’s production designer Sarah Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer to discuss the construction of Barbieland. When they got onto the subject of paint, Greenwood quipped, “the world run out of pink.”

Yes. You heard that right. The Barbie film caused an international shortage of pink. This is in part due to the fact that Gerwig refused to use computer-generated images for the film’s sets, instead opting for hand-painted backdrops, a welcome antidote to the Marvel-produced CGI sludge we’re bombarded with several times a year. “Everything needed to be tactile, because toys are, above all, things you touch,” the filmmaker told AD.

The specific shade that Greenwood and Spencer used was a fluorescent pink by Rosco, a company that specialises in “supersaturated”, highly pigmented colours. In a separate interview with the Los Angeles Times, Lauren Proud, the vice president of global marketing at Rosco, did throw some doubt on Greenwood’s claim, explaining that there was already a shortage of pink due to the pandemic halting the global supply chain, but then confirmed that “they did clean us out on paint”.

The Barbieland set was erected at Warner Bros Studios just outside of London, and took inspiration from Palm Springs mid-century homes, like those seen in the photography of Slim Aarons. Greenwood and Spencer are no strangers to creating enchanting and immersive sets, having worked together on films such as Anna Karenina, Pride & Prejudice and Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast.

Barbie, which stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, will be released on July 21 in theatres worldwide.

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