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Entertainment Weekly

Movies

Live-action Barney movie in the works from Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya and Mattel

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In our modern age of looming global warming, political chaos, crippling financial burdens, and overwhelming anxiety, a new kind of hero rises. From a nearby children’s playground, a haunting, clownish xylophone cuts through the darkness from within a slide as an eerie voice begins to sing, “I… love… you… You… love… me…”

There’s a live-action Barney movie in the works at Mattel and we don’t know if it will open like that. We also don’t that it won’t not open like that, either.

If the news that the famed toy company has assembled a team of producers to bring the childhood purple dinosaur to the big screen comes as a surprise, here’s another one: Get Out, Widows, and Black Panther star Daniel Kaluuya is on board to produce this movie.

Randy Holmes via Getty Images; Everett Collection

“Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood,” said Kaluuya, who produces through his 59% production company. “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.”

Created by Sheryl Leach, Barney was a stuffed purple Tyrannosaurus rex doll with green spots and a green belly who magically grew in size and came to life through the power of children’s imaginations. The kids show Barney & Friends ran from 1992-2009, followed by re-runs. In 2015, it was reported that Mattel would relaunch the show for 2017, but a premiere announcement remained elusive.

There’s little information available about what this new Barney is about, but we have some hints.

Robbie Brenner of Mattel Films says, “Working with Daniel Kaluuya will enable us to take a completely new approach to Barney that will surprise audiences and subvert expectations.”

David Carrico, who’s also producing through Valparaiso Pictures, hopes “to get ‘I love you, you love me’ stuck in heads everywhere, yet again.”

So, perhaps it won’t be a dark and gritty origin story.

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