Moonlight Director Barry Jenkins to Adapt James Baldwin's If Beale Street Could Talk

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<i>Moonlight</i> Director Barry Jenkins to Adapt James Baldwin's <i>If Beale Street Could Talk</i>

After his most recent film, Moonlight, won the Oscar for Best Picture in the most stunning Oscar upset/kerfuffle in recent memory, director Barry Jenkins is officially on to his next film. Given the success Jenkins had in adapting Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unpublished play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue (his screenplay was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay), Jenkins will once again adapt some seriously heavy source material.

Jenkins’ new film for Annapurna Pictures will be based on the novel If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin, Variety first reported. The book follows young, African-American lovers Fonny and Tish who become engaged and then pregnant. Before they’re married, Fonny is falsely accused of raping a Puerto Rican woman. It appears he’s been set up by a racist police officer. Tish races to try and find evidence to exonerate Fonny before their child is born. The novel, and presumably film, are set in the 1970s.

“James Baldwin is a man of and ahead of his time; his interrogations of the American consciousness have remained relevant to this day,” said Jenkins in a statement. “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 the film comes anywhere close to being as good as Moonlight, Jenkins may soon return to the Oscars for a second time.

Production on If Beale Street Could Talk is set to start in October.