Behind the Scenes of Barbie Land 2023: Designing a Whimsical World Inspired by Hitchcock’s Psycho

Discover the fascinating journey of creating Barbie Land, infused with the intriguing essence of Hitchcock’s Psycho. Dive into the behind-the-scenes process, from concept to design, that brings this whimsical world to life.

Introduction


Step into the magical world of Barbie Land, where production designers Sarah Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer share their creative journey in bringing the iconic toy universe to life. Working alongside stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, as well as director Greta Gerwig, Greenwood and Spencer were granted complete creative freedom to craft the enchanting world of Barbie. From exploring vintage homes to reimagining Weird Barbie’s Nightmare House with elements from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, their design process was nothing short of awe-inspiring. Join us as we delve into the intricate details and artistic choices that shaped the fantastical world of Barbie Land.

Building Barbie Land


When the ambitious project of creating Barbie Land took flight, the collaborative efforts of Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, Greta Gerwig, and Mattel offered Greenwood and Spencer a blank canvas for their imagination. With most of the sets constructed on sound stages, they were able to immerse audiences in the vibrant world of Barbie like never before. An astounding array of 12 primary shades of pink, alongside over 100 other pink hues, adorned Barbie Land, creating a visually captivating experience with no trace of black colors in sight.

The design of Barbie’s Dreamhouse, home to the illustrious Margot Robbie, was no easy feat. Drawing inspiration from past iterations of the iconic dollhouse, the team discovered that the toy houses were often smaller than the dolls themselves. To overcome this challenge, they reduced the house’s size by 23 percent, giving Margot Robbie’s Barbie the illusion of being larger than life. The attention to detail was staggering, with physical dimensions measuring “50 feet high and 800 feet long,” making it a true spectacle on set.https://barbie-land-dream-house

Connectedness in Open Architecture


One of the most intriguing aspects of Barbie Land was the interconnectedness between the Barbie houses. Many sets were designed with minimal walls, allowing viewers to peek into other houses and observe simultaneous actions. Spencer explained, “Everything you saw, you saw into another house. You had to be aware of the action that was taking place there and beyond. So, we had to consider the color and every little thing because nothing was hidden.” This open architecture added a unique charm to Barbie Land, fostering a sense of community and togetherness among the dolls.

However, this artistic choice presented its own set of challenges. Some houses lacked stairs, and the cars were built without engines, which meant the designers had to creatively address these omissions while maintaining visual appeal. Stripping away elements usually hidden from view demanded a delicate balance between realism and imagination, resulting in a captivating experience for the audience.

The Making of Weird Barbie’s Nightmare House


In the midst of the picture-perfect Barbie Land, the character of Weird Barbie, portrayed by the talented Kate McKinnon, stood out as an enigma. Living separately from the other Barbies on a hill with discontinued dolls, Weird Barbie represented a doll “played with too much” and now aware of the human world. To visually convey her personality, Greenwood and Spencer took inspiration from the eerie stairs leading up to the antagonist’s house in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror film, Psycho (1960).

Drawing from the iconic stairs of the Psycho house, the designers embraced abstraction and avant-garde elements in Weird Barbie’s abode. Distorting shapes and defying conventional order, the house exuded an otherworldly aura, reflecting the character’s unique journey. Positioned strategically just before filming commenced, Weird Barbie’s house was meticulously designed to capture her essence, even featuring a camouflaged 4 feet 6-inch cat as a hidden gem within the set.

Read More: The Barbie Movie 2023 Controversy:

Conclusion


In Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, the meticulous craftsmanship of Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer shines through, turning the fantastical world of Barbie Land into a visual marvel. With complete creative freedom and attention to the tiniest details, they crafted a whimsical universe where Barbie stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling thrived. Embracing the legacy of Barbie’s Dreamhouse and daringly drawing inspiration from Hitchcock’s Psycho for Weird Barbie’s Nightmare House, the duo elevated the movie’s aesthetics to a whole new level. Their work stands as a testament to the power of imagination and creativity in bringing beloved childhood icons to life on the big screen.

FAQs

1.Q: Who were the production designers of Barbie Land?
A: The production designers of Barbie Land were Sarah Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer.

2.Q: What was the inspiration behind Weird Barbie’s Nightmare House?
A: The inspiration for Weird Barbie’s Nightmare House came from the eerie stairs leading up to the antagonist’s house in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960).

3.Q: How did they create the illusion of Barbie being larger than life in her Dreamhouse?
A: To create the illusion of Barbie being larger than life in her Dreamhouse, they reduced the house’s size by 23 percent.

4.Q: How did the open architecture of Barbie Land add to its charm?
A: The open architecture of Barbie Land allowed viewers to peek into other houses and observe simultaneous actions, fostering a sense of community and togetherness among the dolls.

5.Q: What challenge did the designers face with the interconnected sets in Barbie Land?
A: The challenge with interconnected sets was creatively addressing omissions like lack of stairs and car engines while maintaining visual appeal.

6.Q: Who played the character of Weird Barbie, and what made her stand out from other Barbies?
A: The character of Weird Barbie was portrayed by Kate McKinnon. She stood out as an enigma, living separately from other Barbies with discontinued dolls, representing a doll “played with too much” and now aware of the human world.

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