Greta Gerwig wanted to live out her own personal pink-filled “Barbie” fantasy.
The writer-director behind the highly anticipated live-action film based on the Mattel dolls detailed her vision behind the elaborate Barbie Dreamhouse that the titular doll (Margot Robbie) lives in. In fact, the over-the-top dedication to bringing the whimsical dolls to life led to an international pink paint shortage.
“Maintaining the ‘kid-ness’ was paramount,” Gerwig told Architectural Digest. “I wanted the pinks to be very bright, and everything to be almost too much.”
She added that the details were meant to capture what “made me love Barbie when I was a little girl.”
Production designer Sarah Greenwood revealed that the production led to a shortage of the fluorescent shade of Rosco paint. “The world, ran out of pink,” Greenwood said. Greenwood previously told IndieWire that “pink became the film’s thesis” when designing the look of the ensemble film.
Inspiration for the aesthetic of the Dreamhouse ranged from “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” to “An American in Paris.” The architecture of the house itself was rooted in midcentury modernism found in Palm Springs. The set was constructed at the Warner Bros. Studios lot outside of London and included a hand-painted backdrop in lieu of CGI.
“We were literally creating the alternate universe of Barbie Land,” Gerwig told AD. “Everything needed to be tactile, because toys are, above all, things you touch.”
The “Little Women” auteur noted that “authentic artificiality” was key. “I wanted to capture what was so ridiculously fun about the Dreamhouses,” she said. “Why walk down stairs when you can slide into your pool? Why trudge up stairs when you take an elevator that matches your dress? There are no walls and no doors. Dreamhouses assume that you never have anything you wish was private — there is no place to hide.”
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