A year ago (almost to the day, interestingly enough!), we reported that Daniel Kaluuya was working on some kind of Barney movie about the purple dinosaur as a “modern-day hero” and questioning whether or not “his message of ‘I love you, you love me’ can stand the test of time.” It was unclear just how serious he was being, since it sounded like he was being very serious and it seemed like a weird direction for a movie about Barney. So weird, in fact, that it seemed like one of those Hollywood projects we’d hear about once and then never again.
And yet here we are, hearing about it again. Speaking with Kaluuya about Judas And The Black Messiah, Entertainment Weekly took the opportunity to bring up this Barney project and ask Kaluuya what drew him to the dinosaur. Kaluuya offered a similar statement to the one from last year, but it sounds even more oddly dramatic than that one did:
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.
On paper, so to speak, that quote kind of sounds like he’s teasing some kind of gritty Barney reboot about a purple dinosaur in a world where nobody loves anybody, but again, that would be weird. Taken in context, especially with what he said before, it sounds more like he’s talking about the doom and gloom of the modern world and how something as unapologetically kind and positive like Barney would work in that kind of environment. “Poignant but optimistic” and “especially at this time now” seem to suggest that it’s less “gritty Barney reboot” and more “life is gritty, let’s reboot Barney.” That being said, there have been worse ideas than a gritty Barney reboot, and if Mattel is into this enough to let Daniel Kaluuya talk about it in interviews, then there’s gotta be something of merit there, right?