Barney the Dinosaur gets live action remake set to 'subvert expectations'

Tom Beasley
Daniel Kaluuya will produce Mattel's new 'Barney' movie. (Credit: Lyle A. Waisman/FilmMagic/Randy Holmes via Getty Images)

Purple children’s TV dinosaur Barney is getting his own live-action movie and it’s set to be a “completely new approach” to the beloved character.

Mattel Films is promising to “subvert expectations” with its new take on the dinosaur, who first appeared on TV screens in 1992 and was a staple until 2009 via his PBS show Barney & Friends.

Black Pantha star Daniel Kaluuya is on board as producer and has described the character as “misunderstood” while teasing a very different outing than audiences will expect.

Who is Barney the Dinosaur?

Barney is a purple, anthropomorphised Tyrannosaurus Rex renowned for his I Love You, You Love Me signature song, created in 1987 former teacher Sheryl Leach.

After a number of videos featuring the character were released, the daughter of a TV exec rented one of them and the idea for the PBS show was born.

'Barney & Friends' was a kids' TV staple on PBS for over a decade. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)

Numerous child actors from the show have gone on to greater success, including Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez.

Not the first of its kind

Barney is the latest feature to be added to the growing slate of Mattel projects, which includes the Barbie film with Margot Robbie attached, a movie based on the Hot Wheels range of toy cars and a new take on Masters of the Universe, which is set to arrive in 2021.

Barney is not currently attached to a studio, but has Get Out star Kaluuya on board to produce via his new 59% banner.

It is not yet known whether Kaluuya, who can next be seen in thriller Queen & Slim, will have a role in front of the camera on the finished movie.

Kaluuya told The Hollywood Reporter that Barney was “a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood”.

Robbie Brenner, of Mattel Films, promised that the new take on the character will “surprise audiences and subvert expectations”.

Daniel Kaluuya attends the BET Hip Hop Awards 2019. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for BET)

While the original Barney & Friends run was beloved by children at the time, it was heavily criticised by some adults for its repetitive nature.

An article in Parents Magazine accused the show of existing in a universe which “offers our children a one-dimensional world where everyone must be happy”.

In the years since the program aired, it has become the target for numerous spoofs and parodies.

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