In March, we found out that director Barry Jenkins would be following up his Oscar-winning film “Moonlight” with a one-hour drama series for Amazon based on Colson Whitehead’s best-selling book, The Underground Railroad.
Now, we know what his next film will be, too.
“James Baldwin is a man of and ahead of his time; his interrogations of the American consciousness have remained relevant to this day,” Jenkins said in a statement to Variety. “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.”
The novel follows two lovers in 1970s Harlem, the 19-year-old Tish and 22-year-old Fonny, as the former discovers she is pregnant and the latter is falsely accused of raping a Puerto Rican woman, partially due to the misdeeds of a racist white cop.
Jenkins first wrote the screenplay in 2013, around the time he wrote “Moonlight,” and has apparently worked closely with the Baldwin estate to push the project from an idea into a reality. “We are delighted to entrust Barry Jenkins with this adaptation,” said Baldwin’s sister, Gloria Karefa-Smart. “Barry is a sublimely conscious and gifted filmmaker, whose ‘Medicine for Melancholy’ impressed us so greatly that we had to work with him.”
At the Oscars in February, “Moonlight” won Best Picture in shocking fashion after “La La Land” was mistakenly declared the winner first. “Moonlight” also won for Actor in a Supporting Role and Writing (Adapted Screenplay).
Jenkins expects to start production on “If Beale Street Could Talk” in October.