Barney might be back. The famed purple dinosaur of the PBS preschool series is under development as a live-action feature from Mattel Films and a production company headed by "Get Out" and "Black Panther" star Daniel Kaluuya.
"Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood," Kaluuya, 30, head of the newly formed production company 59%, quipped in a statement from Mattel Films, which is developing the movie with it and Valparaiso Pictures. "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."
The live-action "Barney & Friends," which ran from 1992 to 2009 and has continued to spinoff video compilations, featured children playing and romping with a smiling, adult-sized purple dinosaur, Barney, and smaller 'saurs variously including Baby Bop, B.J. and Riff. The many child actors that passed through included future music stars Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato in several episodes between 2002 and 2004.
"Working with Daniel Kaluuya will enable us to take a completely new approach to 'Barney' that will surprise audiences and subvert expectations," Mattel Films' Robbie Brenner added in a statement. "The project will speak to the nostalgia of the brand in a way that will resonate with adults, while entertaining today's kids."
Kaluuya, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his leading role in the sociopolitical horror satire "Get Out" (2017), won good notices as royal adviser W'Kabi in the Marvel Cinematic Universe hit "Black Panther" (2018). He next stars in the thriller "Queen & Slim," on which he is also an executive producer.
Projects in development for the year-old Mattel Films include movies based on Barbie, Hot Wheels, Masters of the Universe, American Girl, View Master, Magic 8 Ball and Major Matt Mason.