Director Barry Jenkins to Follow ‘Moonlight’ with James Baldwin Adaptation

Barry Jenkins, best known for his Oscar-winning directorial debut Moonlight, has a new project in the works, and it has everything to do with novelist, playwright, poet, and social critic James Baldwin.

Jenkins is set to direct the film If Beale Street Could Talk, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel of the same name. Set in 1970s Harlem, the novel turned film follows a young engaged couple named Fonny and Tish. Fonny gets wrongfully accused of rape and against all odds, a pregnant Tish struggles to find evidence that will support his innocence and help Fonny return to their growing family.

Financing and producing the adaptation will be Annapurna alongside Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B Entertainment (which was produced Moonlight). Production will reportedly begin in October of this year.

If Beale Street Could Talk has been a masterpiece in the making for a while now. In fact, Jenkins began working on the project when he wrote the screenplay four years ago, during the same summer he wrote Moonlight. At the time of writing the screenplay, Jenkins collaborated closely with Baldwin’s estate to honor the integrity of the adaptation.

“We are delighted to entrust Barry Jenkins with this adaptation,” Gloria Karefa-Smart, Baldwin’s sister, said in a statement. “Barry is a sublimely conscious and gifted filmmaker, whose Medicine for Melancholy (Jenkins’s first feature film) impressed us so greatly that we had to work with him.”

Jenkins added, “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.”

37-year-old Jenkins is on a career high since earning the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay for Moonlight this year at the 89th Academy Awards. We can’t wait to see what else this talented creative has in store for us.

Photo Credit: PR Photos

Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.