"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," Kaluuya said. "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."
Barney & Friends was a children’s show which aired from 1992 to 2009. The series was set to be revived, perThe Hollywood Reporter, for a whole new audience in 2017, but the project never got off the ground.
THRreported in October 2019 that Kaluuya's production company 59% had partnered with Mattel Films to produce a live-action Barney movie. "Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood,” Kaluuya said in a statement at the time. "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 2003 BBC News article said repeatedly playing Barney's "I Love You" song was among the tactics used by U.S. interrogators on uncooperative prisoners. "In training, they forced me to listen to the Barney 'I Love You' song for 45 minutes," a U.S. operative recalled. "I never want to go through that again."
Kaluuya will be playing Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, in the Ryan Coogler-produced film Judas and the Black Messiah. It's slated to hit theaters next year.
Watch the full trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah, a movie about the betrayal of Fred Hampton – in theaters 2021.