The head of Mattel Films and executive producer of the Barbie movie, Robbie Brenner, has revealed additional details about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse actor Daniel Kaluuya’s upcoming Barney film, noting that the film will be featuring “adult themes.”
Produced by Kaluuya’s own production company, 59%, and Mattel Films, the Barney movie is based on the classic PBS children’s educational television show Barney and Friends featuring the purple anthropomorphic dinosaur who made use of songs and dances to teach preschool aged children.
“Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood,” Kaluuya said in 2019 following the announcement. “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.”
Earlier this month, Mattel Films executive Kevin McKeon described that the Barney movie as “surrealistic” and an “A24-type” movie.
“We’re leaning into the Millennial angst of the property rather than fine-tuning this for kids,” McKeon told The New Yorker. “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 30-something, growing up with Barney—just the level of disenchantment within the generation.”
Head of Mattel Films and executive producer of the Barbie movie Robbie Brenner shared even more details, addressing what McKeon had previously said about the film.
“I don’t know that it’s necessarily going to be darker,” Brenner told Variety. “It’s just going to be unique — more of like a Being John Malkovich or an Adaptation.”
“Any movie that has Barney is not certainly going to be straightforward,” she acknowledged. “We’re not making Ted. You know what I mean?” Brenner pointed out, referencing Seth MacFarlane’s R-rated Ted movie series.
Brenner notes that fans can expect the Barney movie to be about “identity and finding who you love and who feels alienated.” Furthermore, it will “be more adult and have adult themes — and sort of be a little bit off-kilter.”
As of this writing, there is no release date available for Daniel Kaluuya’s Barney movie.