Photo via: AP
In honor of what would have been James Baldwin’s 94th birthday on Thursday, Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins shared a powerful first look at his film adaptation of Baldwin 1974 novel, “If Beale Street Could Talk.”
In the fiction book, Baldwin tells the story of a young Harlem couple named Fonny and Tish, whose love is tested when Fonny is falsely accused of raping a woman; Tish then tries to prove her fiancé’s innocence while carrying their first child. Kiki Layne takes on the role of Tish, while Stephen James plays Fonny.
“There are days when you wonder what your role is in this country, and what your future is in it,” an archived recording of Baldwin says in the trailer. “The things that tormented me the most were the very things that connected me to all the people who were alive.”
For me, August 2nd has always been a day to pay tribute, so… a teaser of what’s to come. Happy Birthday, Jimmy ♥️ pic.twitter.com/1Miu4jfWvg
— Barry Jenkins (@BarryJenkins) August 2, 2018
Jenkins’ last film “Moonlight” won an Academy Award for best picture, best screenplay and best supporting actor. He said in an earlier statement, “James Baldwin is a man of and ahead of his time; his interrogations of the American consciousness have remained relevant to this day. 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.”
Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” is set to make its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and then will be released in November.