Daniel Kaluuya’s ‘Barney’ film will “not be odd”, says Mattel boss

The project was described as “surrealistic” earlier this year

Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz has said the upcoming Barney movie produced by Daniel Kaluuya will “not be odd”.

Following the success of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, which has become the highest-grossing movie of 2023 worldwide, Mattel is in development on a slate of films based on its IP, with confirmed projects including Polly Pocket and Barney.

Speaking to Semafor about the latter, Kreiz said: “That one is getting a lot of reaction. It’s too early to be specific, but I can tell you we are taking a fresh approach that will be fun, entertaining and culturally oriented. It will not be an odd movie.”


This comes after Mattel Films executive Kevin McKeon described the Barney film as “surrealistic” to The New Yorker in July, where he also compared the concept to films by Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze.

Barbie Ryan Gosling Margot Robbie
Barbie and Ken take a boat ride to the “real world”. CREDIT: Warner Bros.

“We’re leaning into the millennial angst of the property rather than fine-tuning this for kids,” McKeon said. “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 thirtysomething, growing up with Barney – just the level of disenchantment within the generation.”

Mattel originally announced it was planning a Barney film with Kaluuya in 2019, with it unclear whether he’ll star in the project. Speaking at the time, the actor said: “Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood.

“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.”

A new version of Barbie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling was recently screened in IMAX cinemas with additional post-credit footage, including bloopers and deleted scenes.


In a four-star review, NME described Barbie as a “nuanced, rose-tinted comedy adventure” that “somehow lives up to its immense hype”.

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