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Barbie movie set used so much pink paint it caused a shortage

Barbie’s Dreamhouse needed to be vibrant

The Barbie movie set. It shows a series of four Palm Springs inspired buildings, painted in bright pink, with no doors or walls. Image: Warner Bros. Pictures
Nicole Clark (she/her) is a culture editor at Polygon, and a critic covering internet culture, video games, books, and TV, with work in the NY Times, Vice, and Catapult.

Greta Gerwig’s new Barbie movie has already made a splash with its colorful trailers, showing off bright pink outfits and, of course, the impressive Dreamhouse-inspired film set. It looks so much like the Barbie Dreamhouse you might have played with as a kid, bedecked in a vibrant hue of fuchsia. It used so much pink paint, apparently, that it caused an international shortage of the Rosco brand paint color, production designer Sarah Greenwood shared in interview with Architectural Digest.

“Maintaining the ‘kid-ness’ was paramount,” Gerwig told Architecture Digest. “I wanted the pinks to be very bright, and everything to be almost too much.” As a result, “the world,” Greenwood said, in the interview, “ran out of pink.”

The whole set is an absolute sight to behold, inspired by Palm Springs and particularly midcentury modernism, and designers like Richard Neutra. But it was also a fully new invention in its own right, helmed by Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer (the two have also worked on Pride & Prejudice and Anna Karenina). Gerwig explained that the Dreamhouse was designed without walls or doors — a decision both true to the spirit of a dollhouse, which is completely open on one side to allow kids to play with the dolls, but also an interesting directorial choice for a live-action film starring human beings.

“We were literally creating the alternate universe of Barbie Land,” Gerwig told Architectural Digest. That world apparently included a whole lot of pink paint!