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Billy Porter Set To Star As James Baldwin In New Biopic

Billy Porter Set To Star As James Baldwin In New Biopic

The legacy of Baldwin lives on!

Billy Porter is set to star in an upcoming movie about prolific author and civil rights activist, James Baldwin, Variety reports. A Harlem native, Baldwin became famous for his contemporary writings about Black life and his literary works that addressed issues of homosexuality, racism, Black identity and interracial dating. He is best known as an author, publishing several influential works including "Go Tell It on the Mountain" (1953), "Notes of a Native Son" (1955), "Another Country" (1962), and "If Beale Street Could Talk" (1974). The new biopic will tell the story of Baldwin, adapting from the 1994 book written by Baldwin’s longtime friend and assistant David Leeming entitled “James Baldwin: A Biography.” 

Leeming is an emeritus professor of English at the University of Connecticut who described Baldwin in his book as a “complex, troubled, driven and brilliant man [who had a] gift for compassion and love.” Baldwin’s work served as the backdrop of the civil rights movement and he often used his platform and voice in service of justice and freedom issues. Porter, an Emmy and Tony award winning actor will star in the film and co-write the movie alongside New York-based screenwriter and playwright Dan McCabe. Porter says it’s an absolute honor to pay homage to Baldwin in this way.

“As a Black queer man on this planet with relative consciousness I find myself, like James Baldwin said, ‘in a rage all the time.’ I am because James was. I stand on James Baldwin’s shoulders, and I intend to expand his legacy for generations to come,” said Porter.

Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group Motion Pictures will serve as an executive producer on the project with Porter also earning a producer credit. Allen called the new biopic “epic,” expressing his joy at being involved with a project of this magnitude.

“We at Allen Media Group Motion Pictures are extremely passionate about sharing James Baldwin’s phenomenal story with the world. Billy Porter and Dan McCabe’s talent and commitment to amplifying James Baldwin’s legacy and contributions are invaluable and unmatched for this unique and epic story,” said Allen.

Porter has been stepping up more behind the camera, recently making his directorial debut with the 2022 coming-of-age movie, “Anything’s Possible.” The “Pose” star is also set to direct another teen comedy, “To Be Real,” in partnership with Gabrielle Union’s I’ll Have Another Productions. 

Cover photo: Billy Porter set to star as James Baldwin in new biopic/Photo Courtesy of Shavonne Wong/Vogue India/Anthony Barboza/Getty Images