Following critical acclaim and both a Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture Oscar, Barry Jenkins is in a spot where he can pretty much make whatever he wants as his next film. We now know his follow-up to Moonlight will be an adaptation of James Baldwin‘s novel, If Beale Street Could Talk.
According to the press release by Annapurna Pictures, the film is “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”.
This synopsis sounds like a combination of Moonlight and Jenkins’ earlier, lesser-known film, Medicine For Melancholy.
Baldwin and his work were recently the subject of documentary I Am Not Your Negro, which itself received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary. Jenkins had reportedly been trying to adapt this novel for years, but only recently got approval from the Baldwin Estate.
Jenkins himself added: “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”.
With Jenkins establishing himself as one of the premier auteurs who specialises in intimate, introspective character dramas with nods to the political climate, this should be the perfect project for him to follow up his biggest film with.
Filming is set to begin this October.