Moonlight's richly deserved Best Picture Oscar was a milestone in the entertainment world. The film follows the journey of a young gay black man as he struggles to accept himself and find acceptance in a world that discriminates against both the black and LGBTQ communities. People of color and LGBTQ individuals are majorly underrepresented in the film landscape, so Moonlight's success is both meaningful and encouraging.
It's thrilling, but not entirely surprising, that Moonlight director and writer Barry Jenkins' next film will tell the story of a powerful woman. This is another important step forward because studies have shown that women are given far less dialogue than their male co-stars, which allows men to shape the narrative. And of course, women are often relegated to the role of "wife" or "love interest."
That won't be the case in Jenkins' next film, If Beale Street Could Talk. An adaptation of James Baldwin's 1974 book, the movie will tell the story of a recently engaged and pregnant woman, Tish, who's determined to prove the innocence of her imprisoned lover.
“James Baldwin is a man of and ahead of his time; his interrogations of the American consciousness have remained relevant to this day,” Jenkins said in a statement. “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.”
If Beale Street Could Talk is a passion project for Jenkins, and one that's been in the works since 2013, when he first penned the screenplay. Now that he's secured the approval of Baldwin's estate, Jenkins can move forward with the film.
Baldwin's family is confident that the renowned author's book is in good hands: “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.”
Production on If Beale Street Could Talk is slated to begin in October 2017 and we can't wait until it hits theaters.