The Oscar-winning director already has the blessing of Baldwin’s family and a screenplay in the works.
Barry Jenkins skyrocketed to the A-list after last year’s hit Moonlight received much-deserved praise, earning the director an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Motion Picture of the Year.
Now, Variety reports that Jenkins is set to helm an adaptation of James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk.
Baldwin’s fifth novel, If Beale Street Could Talk is set in 1970s Harlem and follows Tish and Fonny, a couple whose love has protected them from their families and the outside world until Fonny is falsely accused of rape. Finding out she’s pregnant, Tish fights to find evidence of Fonny’s innocence before the baby arrives.
Jenkins already has a screenplay written, which he worked on while writing Moonlight, and the blessing of Baldwin’s family.
Baldwin’s sister, Gloria Karefa-Smart, stated, "We are delighted to entrust Barry Jenkins with this adaptation. 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; his interrogations of the American consciousness have remained relevant to this day,” Jenkins said 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.”