Barry Jenkins will next adapt James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk for the big screen
Following a Best Picture Academy Award for last year’s Moonlight, writer and director Barry Jenkins has officially marked his next project. This October, Jenkins will begin production on If Beale Street Could Talk, a feature film adaptation of James Baldwin‘s acclaimed 1974 novel.
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.
Jenkins, who has wanted to make the film for many years, wrote the If Beale Street Could Talk screenplay during the same summer sojourn in 2013 when he penned Moonlight. Since then, Jenkins has worked toward securing the trust of the Baldwin Estate.
“We are delighted to entrust Barry Jenkins with this adaptation,” says Gloria Karefa-Smart, Baldwin’s sister. “Barry is a sublimely conscious and gifted filmmaker, whose ‘Medicine for Melancholy’ impressed us so greatly that we had to work with him.”
“James Baldwin is a man of and ahead of his time,” says Jenkins. “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 will mark Jenkins’ first collaboration with Annapurna and a re-teaming of Moonlight’s producing team, PASTEL and Plan B.