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Barry Jenkins to Follow ‘Moonlight’ With James Baldwin Adaptation

Written by Ryan Swen on July 10, 2017 

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After helming one of the best and most revolutionary films of last year (along with one of the most deserving Best Picture Oscar winners in recent memory), Moonlight director Barry Jenkins has lined up his next film, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk. Set to be distributed by Annapurna Pictures with production beginning in October, the film concerns itself with the story of Tish, a newly engaged woman living in Harlem who attempts to prove her fiancée’s innocence.

As Variety reports, the novel was a work Jenkins had long wanted to adapt for the screen, and he had written the screenplay during the summer of 2013, at the same time that he wrote Moonlight’s script. Since then, he has secured the blessing of the Baldwin Estate, and production is expected to begin in October under the team of Plan B and PASTEL. This adds another item to Jenkins’ plate: he is also writing and directing a one-hour drama series for Amazon based on Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad.

“James Baldwin is a man of and ahead of his time; his interrogations of the American consciousness have remained relevant to this day,” Jenkins says. “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.”

Check out the synopsis of the novel below courtesy of Amazon:

In this honest and stunning novel, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions–affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.


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