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'Barbie' film reportedly used so much pink paint that it caused international shortage

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Jun 05, 2023 5:37 pm

From its trailers and promotional posters, it goes without saying that the highly talked about Barbie film screams pink. Apparently, the movie used so much pink that it caused an international paint shortage.

In an interview with Architectural Digest, production designer Sarah Greenwood, set decorator Katie Spencer, and director Greta Gerwig took the time to discuss their journey in translating Barbie's dream world for the cinematic experience. 

"We were literally creating the alternate universe of Barbie Land," Gerwig told the magazine.

Aiming for "authentic artificiality" at every opportunity, the Little Women and Lady Bird director wanted everything to be pink in order to stay true to the color that the iconic doll is most known for.

"Maintaining the 'kid-ness' was paramount. I wanted the pinks to be very bright, and everything to be almost too much," she said, emphasizing that she didn't want to forget what made her love Barbie when she was a little girl.

Thanks to Greenwood and Spencer, Gerwig seemed to achieve just that as the promotional materials all share teases of the whimsical places that can be found in the film's setting, such as Barbie's three-storey house that boasts a slide that coils into a kidney-shaped pool and a walk-in closet that contains toy-box display cases pinned with outfits.

"I wanted to capture what was so ridiculously fun about the Dreamhouses. Why walk down stairs when you can slide into your pool? Why trudge up stairs when you take an elevator that matches your dress?" Gerwig said.

But it seems that the production team had gone a little too overboard with using the color pink, as Greenwood noted that they caused an international shortage of the fluorescent shade of Rosco paint, "The world ran out of pink."

The Los Angeles Times confirmed this when they questioned the company that supplied set designers.

"They used as much paint as we had," said Lauren Proud, vice president of global marketing at Rosco.

But Proud clarified that during Barbie’s production in 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic was already causing a shortage in the global supply chain of several products and goods, including Rosco’s paint. They also encountered a problem with the deep freeze that plagued Texas in early 2021 and damaged vital materials used to create the paint, causing the company to have less paint than they normally have.

"There was this shortage and then we gave them everything we could—I don’t know they can claim credit," Proud said, adding that, "They did clean us out on paint."

Barbie is set to turn cinema screens pink as it premieres in the Philippines on July 19.