It’s been more than thirty years since Dallas teacher Sheryl Leach first created Barney the Dinosaur, though his legacy lives on in his earworm theme song and the involuntary tics his name still provokes in nineties parents. Like Barney’s former cast mates Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, most of the kids who grew up learning the importance of living, loving, and laughing annoyingly from a purple T. rex are now adults themselves, and prone to nostalgic longing for anything that reminds them of when they were younger and happier. You can count actor Daniel Kaluuya among that backwards-looking Backyard Gang: according to Entertainment Weekly, the Get Out star and avowed childhood fan of the Metroplex-filmed show has teamed up with Mattel to produce a live-action Barney movie, one he hopes will reintroduce Barney’s message of unconditional love and irrepressible joy to an era that regards both those things with suspicion and disdain.
Kaluuya first confirmed his dream Barney project a year ago, even calling the giggling reptile with a preschooler’s brain “a compelling modern-day hero.” Immediately afterward, of course, everyone forgot about it. He’s probably just joking, we thought, before we all went to meet our friends at a bar, or eat at a buffet, or browse a store, or whatever crazy stuff we did in the Before Times. But this week, the idea resurfaced in a new interview in which Kaluuya reiterated that, no, he’s quite serious, then further explained his reasoning.
“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?” Kaluuya said. “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.”
Of course, there’s still no firm date for filming, or any further indication of what form a Barney movie might actually take. Kaluuya’s description definitely makes it sound less like a cheery kids’ film, and more like a wrenching indie drama where Barney and his Friends decide they’ve grown apart, before Barney moves out of the backyard and into a basement apartment, where he undertakes a searing personal inventory of all his many failings. Maybe Noah Baumbach can direct. But in the meantime, you can probably expect this news to fade from memory, too, until it pops up unbidden into your consciousness all over again—just like Barney himself.
Seinfeld Stars Reunite to Turn Texas Blue
Because there’s nothing that sways Texas voters like a bunch of neurotic New Yorkers, Seinfeld cast members Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander will reunite with series cocreator Larry David for a benefit that’s aimed at turning the state blue. The “Fundraiser About Something” from the people behind the “show about nothing” livestreams Friday, October 23, at 7 p.m. Central, with host Seth Meyers walking the trio through behind-the-scenes stories about their favorite episodes, interspersed with various special guests and other surprises. You can join in by making a donation to the Texas Democratic Party, while a gift of $5,000 or more will gain you entry to a special VIP reception that starts at 6:30 p.m., where you can presumably make awkward Zoom chatter with the stars about, I don’t know, the state Legislature? As far as crazy Seinfeld schemes go, trying to engineer a Democratic landslide in the Lone Star State kind of sounds right up there with the Urban Sombrero. But then again, even that became a real thing, so who knows?
Come behind-the-scenes of Seinfeld with us and, yada yada yada, we’re going to #TurnTexasBlue!@IJasonAlexander, Larry David, host @sethmeyers & I will discuss the hilarious stories behind our favorite episodes.— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) October 21, 2020
Grab your spot to join us on Friday here: https://t.co/UfHM4dtiqJ pic.twitter.com/J3ZeYYrUwm
David Gordon Green Making a Smokey and the Bandit TV Series
The legacy of Smokey and the Bandit has mostly been reduced to a Trans Am and Burt Reynolds’s hyena laugh, so it’s easy to overlook what a monster it truly was. The 1977 car chase caper was that year’s second-highest-grossing film, lagging behind only Star Wars at the box office, and it went on to spawn two sequels, four made-for-TV movies, the real-life Bandit Run, and countless dudes who thought they could pull off a mustache. Now it’s being revived for a whole new generation with its own TV series reboot from Richardson-bred filmmaker David Gordon Green, who, along with his Eastbound & Down producing partners Danny McBride and Jody Hill, has been making spiritual kin to the Smokey films for years now. Green and his team are being joined by Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane on the project, which Variety says will “remain faithful to its original setting in the South,” where Reynolds’s Coors-smuggling Bandit first led Jackie Gleason’s Texas sheriff Buford T. Justice on a wild chase from Texarkana to Atlanta, with occasional stops for banter and sloppy beef sandwiches. “Growing up in the South, Smokey and the Bandit was an iconic franchise for me,” Green told THR. “The legacy of these characters is a playground of swagger and sass that I’m excited to dig into.” Expect comedy, thrilling car chases, and plenty of barbecue-related threats.
Jamie Foxx to Hit Career Apex by Playing Pool-Cleaning Vampire Hunter
Terrell’s own Jamie Foxx has so many projects in the works at the moment, it’s become near impossible to keep track of them all. Luckily he’s just come up with a useful way to index all those gestating projects: Day Shift is the one where he plays a pool cleaner who’s also a vampire hunter, and everything else is where he doesn’t. The Wrap reported on this milestone as Foxx’s latest offering for Netflix, where he also has the sci-fi film They Cloned Tyrone and the comedy series Dad Stop Embarrassing Me in the works—neither of which finds him cleaning pools in the San Fernando Valley as a front for his real business of killing vampires, so again, who cares.
Norah Jones, Spoon, Gary Clark Jr., and Post Malone Playing Tom Petty Birthday Bash
Friday, October 23, would have been Tom Petty’s seventieth birthday—and rather than spending it ruminating all over again about losing him, why not spend it in the company of his friends, fellow fans, and, uh, Adam Sandler? The Tom Petty Birthday Bash will stream in two five-hour chunks beginning at 3:30 p.m. Central on SiriusXM’s Tom Petty Radio, followed by another livestream event available on Amazon Music’s Twitch channel and TomPetty.com at 6 p.m. Central. Several Texas performers will be a part of that second set, with Spoon, Norah Jones, Gary Clark Jr., and Post Malone all paying tribute among a lineup that also includes Foo Fighters, Beck, Stevie Nicks, Brandi Carlile, Lucinda Williams, the Flaming Lips, Margo Price, and Lenny Kravitz, plus special appearances by Kiefer Sutherland and the aforementioned Sandler.
Did Post Malone Get a New Tattoo?
No. And whatever—honestly, I don’t even care anymore. “Hey look at me, I’m Post Malone: I’m paying tribute to Tom Petty among a rarified group of legacy performers while simultaneously appearing on a hot new single from Ty Dolla $ign, you see, I’ve become too much of a musical institution to even think about getting something ludicrous etched on my skin, just for my or your amusement. Oooh, I’m Post Malone, and I recently accepted an award by giving a shout-out to grapes, but that is the absolute limit to the kind of outré behavior I will willingly display these days. No, I will not get a tattoo of the comic-strip character Ziggy brandishing an assault rifle on my thigh—you must have me confused with the old me of approximately four months ago. Ta, I’m off to sample some wine.” Pfft. Sellout.
THIS WEEK IN MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY
Like a folksy, proverb-laden monologue unleashed into a brief lull in the conversation, Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights finally hit bookstore shelves this week, spreading the actor’s wisdom, anecdotes, and memories of being a hand model to fans and future historians alike. He commemorated its release with a Bible verse and some hosannas on his social media feeds, captioning his official kickoff video “For it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you”—and according to the early reviews, McConaughey’s Father must have really wanted to remind people that he died while having sex with his wife. That’s just one of many revelations that have already found their way into the ether, and I certainly won’t spoil the rest for you. Although suffice it to say it’s full of both typically breezy koans and some unexpectedly dark details about his past that reveal the true cost of livin’.
But never mind that. For McConaughey, it’s a time to celebrate, and he marked the occasion by running absolutely buck wild through all corners of the media, social and otherwise, and cramming an entire year’s worth of McConaughey into a week that visibly strained to contain it. In the past few days alone, you could catch him on The Kelly Clarkson Show, The Daily Show, The GaryVee Audio Experience, and The Tim Ferriss Show. He talked to Howard Stern about getting high on the set of Dazed and Confused. He traded Wolf of Wall Street chest thumps with Barstool Sports. He appeared on Dr. Oz, where he gave America another one of his on-demand pep talks. He popped up on Fox & Friends, where he urged the nation to accept the outcome of the presidential election, “whichever way it goes.” He went on Russell Wilson’s DangerTalk podcast, where he discussed an hour and a half’s worth of stuff that, sorry, I simply do not have time to digest. Then he went on The Joe Rogan Experience, where he talked for two straight hours that I admittedly just skimmed through—and, incredibly, I did not hear Joe Rogan’s voice once. He went on Hot Ones and ate some spicy hot wings, and that, at least, I can easily distill.
In short, McConaughey is everywhere right now—on video, in print, in your ears. The man even put together a show for Spotify, where he shares “the songs that soundtracked his life” and talks, among other things, about how John Mellencamp’s “Pink Houses” helped to “shape his patriotism.” He is arguably more ubiquitous than ever. How ironic, then, that in the midst of this total McConslaught, he would declare to GQ that he thinks the fabled “McConaissance” is over: “I’d say that was that. Could there be another run and another name, something lyrical and fun and easy to say—it comes off the lips like that and has a bit of rhyme and reason to it? Maybe,” McConaughey said, noting that right now he’s much more fulfilled simply being a virtual omnipresence, Zoomed into every conceivable outlet. “It’s going to take something kinda special right now to make me feel like I want to leave this character that I’m playing right now in this piece of art that I’m creating.” Indeed, the McConaissance is through. We have stepped into McConinfinity.