Daniel Kaluuya’s Barney Described as “A24-Type” Film Like Charlie Kaufman’s and Spike Jonze’s Work

"It’ll focus on some of the trials and tribulations of being thirtysomething, growing up with Barney"

daniel kaluuya barney movie a24 mattel executive quote
Barney & Friends (PBS) and Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out (Universal Pictures)

    Though Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated Barbie movie hasn’t hit theaters yet, Mattel Films is already looking forward to dozens of other projects in development based on its IP, including Daniel Kaluuya’s Barney adaptation. In a profile of the toy company’s film division published by The New Yorker, one executive called it an “A24-type” movie which will be “surrealistic” and similar to the work of Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze.

    “We’re leaning into the millennial angst of the property rather than fine-tuning this for kids,” Mattel Films exec Kevin McKeon said about the Barney movie. “It’s really a play for adults. Not that it’s R-rated, but it’ll focus on some of the trials and tribulations of being thirtysomething, growing up with Barney — just the level of disenchantment within the generation.”

    Though Kaluuya declined to speak with The New Yorker, the actor revealed in July 2022 that the script for the Barney movie was being reworked. Back in 2019, Kaluuya explained why he wanted to make the film, saying, “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.”


    Elsewhere in the profile, Gerwig revealed she has at least a few more adaptations in her future. Per The New Yorker, the Barbie writer and director has inked a deal with Netflix to helm at least two films based on C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. The movies will follow three previous adaptations from the book series: The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobePrince Caspian; and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

    Read the full profile about Mattel’s upcoming plans at The New Yorker.

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