Barry Jenkins Set to Direct James Baldwin Adaptation

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Photo: David Bornfriend via Wikipedia

Following his groundbreaking film Moonlight, which took home Best Picture at this year’s Oscars, director Barry Jenkins will adapt James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk into a feature, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

If Beale Street Could Talk was published in 1974 – it’s set in Harlem in the 70s and follows the story of a couple, Fonny and Tish, who are expecting a child when Fonny is wrongly accused of having raped someone. As a result Tish must scramble, while pregnant, to find evidence clearing her partner’s name. Jenkins, who in addition to Best Picture took home Best Adapted Screenplay for Moonlight, wrote the movie’s script back in 2013, the same summer he wrote his monumental Oscar winner.

Jenkins is working closely with the Baldwin estate on the production. In a statement, Baldwin’s sister said: “We are delighted to entrust Barry Jenkins with this adaptation. Barry is a sublimely conscious and gifted filmmaker, whose Medicine For Melancholy (Jenkins’ debut feature) 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.”

The movie will be financed by Annapurna Productions, as well as Jenkins’ Pastel Productions and Plan B, who produced Moonlight. Work on the film is set to begin in October.