Mattel announced it is teaming with Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya’s production company 59%, and Valparaiso Pictures to develop a live-action motion picture based on Barney, Mattel’s Jurassic Era lovable purple dinosaur.
Mattel Films will co-produce Barney alongside Academy Award-nominee Get Out and Black Panther star Daniel Kaluuya and his 59% cohorts Rowan Riley and Amandla Crichlow, along with Valparaiso’s David Carrico, Adam Paulsen and Bobby Hoppey. Kevin McKeon will also shepherd the project for Mattel Films.
“Working with Daniel Kaluuya will enable us to take a completely new approach to ‘Barney’ that will surprise audiences and subvert expectations,” said Robbie Brenner, Mattel Films. “The project will speak to the nostalgia of the brand in a way that will resonate with adults, while entertaining today’s kids.”
The Barney brand was an obsession of the pint-sized set in the 1990s, after Barney and Friends began its long run as a PBS television series built around the singing and dancing lessons conveyed by the purple tyrannosaurus rex created by Dallas mom Sheryl Leach. The show lasted 14 seasons and branched into live touring shows and movies that turned in subpar grosses.
“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.”
Said Valparaiso’s Carrico: “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.”
The project joins a Mattel Films slate that includes projects based on the toys Barbie, Hot Wheels, Masters of the Universe, American Girl, View Master, Magic 8 Ball and Major Matt Mason.