Daniel Kaluuya Actually Has a Great Reason for Wanting to Do a … – The Mary Sue

In news I was truly today years old for, Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Black Panther, Judas and the Black Messiah, Nope) has confirmed that his production company, 59%, is still working on a Barney movie. First of all, I ask as I reread that sentence, the what movie? Second of all, work has already been going on for said movie? According to an interview with Gerrick Kennedy of The Hollywood Reporter, the project is still in early development with the script being reworked. That… you know what? Sure, why not. Garfield has two live-action films with a new CG animated film in the works where Chris Pratt is the voice of the lasagna-loving cat, and somewhere in the cast is Samuel L. Jackson. So yeah. Barney. Let’s go. Let Kaluuya do something lighthearted – after Nope, of course.
Before I get to Kaluuya’s why behind the movie, I should note that this isn’t a new announcement. News about the critically acclaimed actor taking on the mantra “I love you, you love me” dates back to 2019. According to Matt Goldberg over at Collider, Kaluuya announced plans for the Barney movie in partnership with Mattel Films.
“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.”
At the time, Barney joined other Mattel properties that were in various stages of film production (Hot WheelsMasters of the Universe, and Barbie). While Hot Wheels and Masters of the Universe have had some reveals about the films (Hot Wheels is being produced by J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot while Master of the Universe has cast Kyle Allen as He-Man) the Barbie movie has graced us with all sorts of fun costumes and memes. As for Barney, there is very little information about the film, but Kaluuya has revealed why he’s so passionate about the project.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly back in 2020, Kaluuya spoke with Derek Lawrence about the film and the whole idea of Barney’s iconic song.
Barney taught us, ‘I love you, you love me. Won’t you say you love me too?’ That’s one of the first songs I remember, and what happens when that isn’t true? I thought that was really heartbreaking. I have no idea why but it feels like that makes sense. It feels like there’s something unexpected that can be poignant but optimistic. Especially at this time now, I think that’s really, really needed.
He’s not wrong. I’ve definitely been appreciative of more optimistic stories these days. There’s no telling what kind of story that’s going to be told with the purple dinosaur, but I am glad the word “optimistic” was used for a character like Barney. That means we’re probably not getting a gritty reimagining or, I dunno, a Five Nights at PBS production.
Kaluuya has since added a bit more context to his statement when speaking with The Hollywood Reporter. He didn’t give any details about what the movie would be about, but he did address the dinosaur in the room about how odd it is for him to be developing a film about Barney. “My last number of films have been so aligned to kind of what I stand for as a man. But there are a whole lot of things that I do as a man. I love kids’ films. How did everyone get into films? Watching kids’ films. I don’t want to restrict myself to the limitations of what I’m perceived as.”
Kaluuya goes on to say that he knows that people look at him and think he’s a bit serious, so there’s definitely the double hit of there being a Barney film AND it being produced by him. It’s pretty wholesome to see him respond with “I love kids’ films” and “that’s how we all got into liking movies.” Will that have something to do with the plot? Who knows, but I do know if a great big hug and a kiss from me to you isn’t involved, I’m walking out of the theater.
(Featured image: Universal Pictures/PBS/edit by Briana Lawrence)
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Briana (she/her – bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it’s Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)
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