Greta Gerwig Says ‘Barbie’ Channels the Surrealism of Classic Technicolor Musicals With ‘Authentic Artificiality’

“You have a painted sky in a soundstage. Which is an illusion, but it’s also really there,” the director said of the film’s 20th century influences

Warner Bros

The first trailer for Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” showcased a candy-coated pink world that perfectly mimicked the aesthetic everyone associates with America’s favorite doll. Now, in a new interview for Vogue, the cast and director of the upcoming “Barbie” discussed how that look came together.

When the film starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling entered production the cast and crew regularly assembled every Sunday morning to watch a movie that would be referenced, in some way, in the film for what was dubbed “movie church,” according to the interview.

According to Vogue, Gerwig foresaw “Barbie” being akin to an Old Hollywood movie musical. Specifically cited is the 1948 feature “The Red Shoes,” directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and Jacques Demy’s 1964 musical “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.” Interestingly, Demy’s film is also cited as an influence on Damien Chazelle’s musical “La La Land.”

“They have such a high level of what we came to call authentic artificiality,” Gerwig said in Vogue. “You have a painted sky in a soundstage. Which is an illusion, but it’s also really there. The painted backdrop is really there. The tangibility of the artifice is something that we kept going back to.”

The film’s director of photography, Rodrigo Prieto, even created a special color palette for the feature that Gerwig named “Techni-Barbie,” no doubt also influenced by the bright colors of early Technicolor musicals.

This is the first live-action film to be made of the Mattel character, with an all-star ensemble cast that finds various actors playing different versions of Barbie, Ken and other characters in the “Barbie” universe.

The ensemble also includes America Ferrera, Will Ferrell, Simu Liu, Michael Cera, Kate McKinnon , Emma Mackey (“Sex Education”), Kingsley Ben-Adir (“High Fidelity”), Rhea Perlman (“Cheers”), Ncuti Gatwa (“Sex Education”), Ariana Greenblatt (“Avengers: Infinity War”), Ana Cruz Kayne (“Little Women”), Alexandra Shipp (“Tick, Tick, Boom…”), Ritu Arya (“The Umbrella Academy”), Sharon Rooney (“Dumbo”), Connor Swindells (“Sex Education”), Scott Evans (“Almost Love”) and Jamie Demetriou (“Fleabag”).

Robbie serves as a producer through her LuckyChap banner alongside David Heyman. Gerwig is reuniting with her Oscar-winning “Little Women” composer Alexandre Desplat as well as costume designer Jacqueline Durrand.

“Barbie” hits theaters July 23.