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'If Beale Street Could Talk', based on a 1974 novel by James Baldwin, will be Barry Jenkins's followup to 'Moonlight' (2013).

What’s next for ‘Moonlight’ director Barry Jenkins

When he won Best Picture at the Oscars, Barry Jenkins already knew which film he would make next. In fact, he wrote the script, based on a 1974 novel by James Baldwin, at the same time as Moonlight in 2013.

If Beale Street Could Talk is the story of Tish, a newlywed in Harlem. When her husband Fonny is wrongly accused of rape, Tish discovers she is pregnant and must find evidence to clear Fonny’s name before the baby is born. It’s a powerful tale of injustice, love, and the American Dream.

“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. “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.”

“We are delighted to entrust Barry Jenkins with this adaptation”, Baldwin’s sister, Gloria Karefa-Smart, said. “Barry is a sublimely conscious and gifted film-maker, whose Medicine for Melancholy impressed us so greatly that we had to work with him.”

Backed by Annapurna Pictures, production on Beale Street is to begin in October 2017.

This autumn is set to be a busy period for Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy), who will also write and direct a drama series for Amazon, based on Colson Whitehead’s best-selling book The Underground Railroad. The critically-acclaimed 2016 novel, the story of a slave girl’s journey through America’s Deep South, is described as a “thrilling, genre-bending tale of escape and uncomfortable home truths.”

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