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'Moonlight' Director Barry Jenkins Is Turning A James Baldwin Novel Into A Movie

'Moonlight' Director Barry Jenkins Is Turning A James Baldwin Novel Into A Movie

Photo Credit: Jordan Strauss /AP 

Writer and director Barry Jenkins has announced his next film project! 

To follow-up his Oscar winning film, "Moonlight", Jenkins is now set to adapt James Baldwin's 1974 novel "If Beale Street Could Talk" for the screen. In the fiction book, Baldwin tells the story of a young Harlem couple named Fonny and Tish, whose love is tested when Fonny is set up by a racist police officer and falsely accused of raping a woman; Tish then tries to prove her fiancé's innocence while carrying their first child. 

Jenkins, who wrote the screenplay during the same summer (in 2013) that he wrote "Moonlight", told Esquire earlier this year: "Beale Street I wrote in Berlin. Moonlight I wrote in Belgium. I wrote it without the rights because again, in some ways, it was a reaction to putting so much energy in the commercial company. No matter how much you convince yourself, that kind of work purely about making money. I said, 'Well, I'm going to just do exactly what I want to do. I love this book. I love this play. I'm going to write those things, and I'll... figure it out after. Yeah, I mean, here it is three years later. I still don't have the rights to the book, as I shouldn't. Mr. Baldwin's only been adapted once. This would only be the second time. It's a big deal. It's a big responsibility. But because of the success of Moonlight in the marketplace, the estate has seen the film. And I think in that film they can see my intentions with Beale Street, so it's on the horizon. I don't have the rights, but it's on the horizon'." 

Talk about the power of words. Now, the project is really happening! Production is set to start in October. 

"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."

Congratulations, Mr. Jenkins! Thank you for being an inspiration and showing us all what can happen when we prepare for opportunity, instead of waiting for it.