Academy Award-winning ‘Moonlight’ writer/director Barry Jenkins is set to direct an adaptation of James Baldwin’s “If Beale Street Could Talk” as part of Jenkins’ production company Pastel’s deal with Annapurna Pictures and Brad Pitt’s Plan B. Baldwin’s 1974 novel is set in (then) modern-day Harlem and follows a young engaged couple, Fonny and Tish. Tish, who is pregnant with the couple’s child, is forced to prove Fonny’s innocence when he is falsely accused of rape.
Working closely with the Baldwin estate, Jenkins has been working on the film’s screenplay since the summer of 2013 (which is also when he wrote ‘Moonlight’). “We are delighted to entrust Barry Jenkins with this adaptation,” Baldwin’s sister, Gloria Karefa-Smart, said in a statement, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “Barry is a sublimely conscious and gifted filmmaker, whose [2008 film] Medicine for Melancholy impressed us so greatly that we had to work with him.”
“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,” says Jenkins. “Working alongside the Baldwin Estate, I’m excited to finally make that dream come true.”
Production on the film is currently slated to begin this October.