As we make our way through this Age of the Revamped Nostalgia Piece, most projects announced cause me to die a little inside. However, every once in a while, a remake comes across that causes me to sit up and take notice. Such was the case when I read over the weekend that British actor Daniel Kaluuya is making a live-action Barney movie.
First a crash course in Barney who, I have to admit, fell in that magic period of my life in which I was too old to watch and not old enough to know kids who did. Barney led a gang of merry dinosaurs on the children’s show Barney and Friends. He was a foam-filled, purple Tyrannosaurus Rex who had blunt teeth and sang songs about loving each other with real live children (Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Debby Ryan were in the cast) and other foam dinosaurs gloriously misrepresented in technicolored shades. When I heard Daniel was attached to this, my mind immediately flashed to his gymnasium scene from Widows and I had visions of Barney getting into Riff’s face saying, “I want to hear what you were doing. Do it again. The music. I’m not kidding.” And then taking out a trombone and barking “run!” before starting to play. I was two-feet, all in for it, too. Alas, Daniel is producing the project with Mattel Films and will not be donning the latex head himself.
Barney is headed to the big screen. Mattel Films is partnering with Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya to produce a live-action movie based on the ubiquitous purple dinosaur.
Kaluuya will produce the project through his newly formed 59% banner, along with Rowan Riley and Amandla Crichlow, as well as David Carrico, Adam Paulsen and Bobby Hoppey for Valparaiso (Sound of Silence). Kevin McKeon will oversee for Mattel. The project does not have a studio attached.
“Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood,” said Kaluuya. “We’re excited to explore this compelling modern-day hero and see if his message of ‘I love you, you love me’ can stand the test of time.”
“Working with Daniel Kaluuya will enable us to take a completely new approach to Barney that will surprise audiences and subvert expectations,” added Mattel Films’ Robbie Brenner. “The project will speak to the nostalgia of the brand in a way that will resonate with adults, while entertaining today’s kids.”
“Barney is a dinosaur from our imagination, and we can’t wait to get ‘I love you, you love me’ stuck in heads everywhere, yet again,” said Carrico of Valparaiso Pictures.
[From The Hollywood Reporter via DListed]
I’ll admit that I was of the ‘Hate Barney’ camp. However, I’ve read interviews from former cast members (like Jeff Brooks who played B.J.) that they too, hated the Purple Menace until they started paying attention to him and that a lot of time and effort went into creating truly positive messaging that came across to children. So when I make fun of Barney now, it’s lovingly poking fun – anyone telling children they are worthy is okay in my book, no matter how janky their kit is.
However, all that said, is anyone else reading between the lines in that THR announcement? Language like, “the project will speak to the nostalgia of the brand in a way that will resonate with adults, while entertaining today’s kids,” makes me think this isn’t going to be a straightforward remake. And they all keep referencing Barney’s signature ear-worm song, I Love You, You Love Me, in a way that gets me back to my Barney’s Widows fantasy. However, unlike Elite Daily, who thinks Daniel et al’s comments make the film sound “eerie,” I think maybe Mattel is going for self-referential, ala their Barbie’s Dream House series, which is a blast. If they go anywhere near that, I will be first in line for my ticket.
It doesn’t look like the tantric sex therapist who donned the T-rex foam for 10 years, David Joyner, will be reprising his role. However, this hasn’t even been announced as a studio film yet so there is still plenty of time for this story to get weirder.
Photo credit: WENN Photos and Getty Images
We really do exist in the weirdest timeline. This article kinda reads like madlibs (Barney and Daniel Kaluuya? Wat?)
Look I don’t care about Barney in the LEAST but I’m here for all things Daniel Kaluuya!
Yes! I’m just here to leave a Daniel Kaluuya Appreciation Comment.
Those are a lot of words that I know…but put together make no sense! 😂
Somehow it’s even better that Daniel doesn’t have kids. You certainly don’t have to in order to care about children’s entertainment… but Barney? That’s deep cuts!!
Barney already had a movie called Barney’s Great Adventure…
Also Daniel’s deep mahogany skin is beyond gorgeous omg!!
I have a big crush on Daniel so im always down for whatever he wants tho this truly is random – delightfully random – but still random 😂
sigh 😍😍 Daniel…call me if you lower your standards!