“Not that it’s R-rated, but it’ll focus on some of the trials and tribulations of being thirtysomething,” a Mattel executive said about the project
As the release of Barbie, which stars Margot Robbie as the titular doll and Ryan Gosling as Ken, nears, Mattel Films is sharing more about its other upcoming projects — including the Kaluuya-led film about everyone’s favorite purple dinosaur.
In an interview with The New Yorker, Kevin McKeon, an executive for the toy-focused brand, said that the movie will be “surrealistic,” comparing it to the films of screenwriter-directors Charlie Kaufman (Anomalisa, I’m Thinking of Ending Things) and Spike Jonze (Her, Adaptation).
He also shared that the target demographic of the Barney film will not be that far in age from the original audience of the dinosaur’s hit show, Barney & Friends. The kids program ran from 1992 to 2009 and jumpstarted the careers of stars like Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez and Never Have I Ever‘s Jaren Lewison.
“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.”
The Mattel executive continued, “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.”
McKeon told the outlet that he pitched the project, which will feature the Get Out Oscar nominee, 34, in an unspecified role, to potential partners as an “A24-type” movie.
A24 is the production company behind projects including Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Whale, Midsommar and Euphoria.
“It would be so daring of us,” the executive told the magazine. “And really underscore that we’re here to make art.”
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In 2019, Mattel Films’ Robbie Brenner echoed this sentiment, telling The Hollywood Reporter that the upcoming project will “resonate with adults, while entertaining today’s kids.”
“Working with Daniel Kaluuya will enable us to take a completely new approach to Barney that will surprise audiences and subvert expectations,” the Mattel executive added.
Kaluuya also spoke about the project with the outlet, calling Barney a “ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods.”
“He disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood,” the Nope actor continued. “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.”