Coming off a Best Picture win for the acclaimed drama Moonlight meant director Barry Jenkins could likely pick from a wide variety of projects for his sophomore feature effort.
For his next film, Jenkins will be tackling an adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk. The book tells the story of Tish, a pregnant, newly engaged 19-year-old living in Harlem that is dealing with one major predicament: proving her lover is innocent of a rape charge and getting him out of prison before their first child is born.
Variety broke the news, describing If Beale Street Could Talk as “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 had reportedly penned the screenplay during the same summer that he wrote Moonlight. He has the full support of the Baldwin estate (Baldwin died in ’87 aged 63).
“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 impressed us so greatly that we had to work with him.”
In his statement, Jenkins said: “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.”
Cameras are expected to start rolling in October this year. Stay tuned.