Barry Jenkins Secures His Next Film, James Baldwin’s ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’
James Baldwin and Barry Jenkins, a collaboration dreams are made of. Those dreams will become a reality now that the Moonlight director has secured his next film project, an adaptation of a Baldwin novel.
Since the triumphant win of Moonlight as the Oscars in February, everyone’s been anxious to learn what’s next for Jenkins. He took some time to shoot a stellar episode of Dear White People – easily one of the best episodes of television this year so far – and he also signed on to write and direct Amazon’s limited series adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. But apparently Jenkins has room in his schedule for some more powerful storytelling. Variety revealed today the filmmaker’s first film project since Moonlight: an adaptation of Baldwin’s fifth novel, If Beale Street Could Talk.
Set in the ‘70s in Harlem, the novel follows the romance of the 19-year-old Tish and the 22-year-old Fonny. Tish becomes pregnant and the couple gets engaged, but soon after Fonny is accused of rape. Tish works to gather evidence and prove her lover’s innocence before the baby is born.
Jenkins wrote the script back in 2013 and has been working to secure rights from Baldwin’s estate. But it wasn’t even Moonlight that convinced them; after seeing Jenkins’ first feature, Medicine for Melancholy, the author’s sister Gloria Karefa-Smart was sold. The film, produced by Annapurna, will kick off production in October, leaving the future of Jenkins’ Underground Railroad unknown. Either way, we’re looking towards a couple years full of new Barry Jenkins material on the big and small screen.