After Moonlight’s glorious win for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars, writer and director Barry Jenkins has been quietly squirrelling away putting the foundations in place for his next project, the film adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk.
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This is by far a new project for Jenkins; he had already penned the screenplay back in 2013 alongside Moonlight but it’s taken a while to persuade the Baldwin estate to let him adapt the novel for the big screen. Jenkins has long wanted to adapt the troubled love story, it’s a tale that is close to his heart.
“James Baldwin is a man of and ahead of his time. His interrogations of the American consciousness have remained relevant to this day. To translate the power of Tish and Fonny’s love to the screen in Baldwin’s image is a dream I’ve long held dear. Working alongside the Baldwin Estate, I’m excited to finally make that dream come true.”
If Beale Street Could Talk tells the story of Tish, a newly engaged Harlem woman who races against the clock to prove her lover’s innocence while carrying their first-born child. It is a celebration of love told through the story of a young couple, their families and their lives, trying to bring about justice through love, for love and the promise of the American dream.
James Baldwin’s sister, Gloria Karefa-Smart has stated she is delighted to hand the story over to Jenkins to adapt.
“We are delighted to entrust Barry Jenkins with this adaptation.
“Barry is a sublimely conscious and gifted filmmaker, whose ‘Medicine for Melancholy’ impressed us so greatly that we had to work with him.”
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Jenkins will again be teaming up with Brad Pitt’s production Plan B, who produced Moonlight, as well as the eclectic Annapurna who are behind Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit starring John Boyega and lasts year’s R-Rated animation, Sausage Party.