Barney the dinosaur is making a comeback, to the big screen this time. Mattel Films has partnered with Oscar-nominee Daniel Kaluuya to bring the popular children's icon back in movie form. Mattel, the beloved toy company, has taken an active role recently in bringing its properties to life in other media, having formed a production arm specifically for that purpose. Barney is the latest property under the company's umbrella to get the movie treatment.
According to a new report, Daniel Kaluuya, known for his on-screen work in Jordan Peele's hit horror/thriller Get Out and Marvel Studios' blockbuster Black Panther, is set to produce Barney via his own 59% production company. It's unclear at this time if Kaluuya would also potentially star in some capacity, or if he will keep his role strictly behind the scenes. Valparaiso Pictures has also partnered on the project, but no major studio is attached yet. Kevin McKeon is set to oversee the project on behalf of Mattel Films. Kaluuya had this to say about it in a statement.
"Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood. 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."
Barney & Friends aired on PBS beginning in 1992 and quickly became a staple of children's television. The series centers on a large, purple dinosaur who teaches kids about life through the use of song. The series had a tremendously successful run, which wrapped up in 2009. Through 14 seasons, 268 episodes were produced. Mattel Films' Robbie Brenner had this to say in a statement.
"Working with Daniel Kaluuya will enable us to take a completely new approach to Barney that will surprise audiences and subvert expectations. The project will speak to the nostalgia of the brand in a way that will resonate with adults, while entertaining today's kids."
At present, no writer or director is attached to the movie, but it seems to be in the very early stages of development. It also isn't clear what the take on the material would be and how that would translate into a two-hour cinematic presentation. Though, 90s nostalgia is big right now and parents who had a soft spot for the purple dinosaur when they were young may feel compelled to relive their childhood with their own kids when this hits theaters.
Mattel has been taking a page or two out of the Hasbro playbook in trying to leverage its largest brands for movie and TV deals. Outside of Barney, they also movies in the works based on Hot Wheels, Masters of the Universe and Barbie, which will feature Oscar-nominee Margot Robbie as the title character. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details on the project are made available. This news was previously reported by The Hollywood Reporter.