Barry Jenkins’ lifelong passion for James Baldwin’s body of work is evident with his latest feature If Beale Street Could Talk, an adaptation of the author’s 1974 novel. The story centers on Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James), two lovers who have been friends since childhood. Their coupling take a tragic turn when Fonny is wrongly accused of rape and sent to prison, and a pregnant Tish is determined to get him out of prison.
Jenkins’ last feature Moonlight received an Oscar for Best Picture, and If Beale Street Could Talk should definitely be in the running for this season’s coveted prize. Jenkins, who describes himself as a “Baldwin zealot,” started writing the screenplay in 2013 (he read the novel back in 2009). Click on the media bar to hear Jenkins elaborate on the “truth” and “potency” behind James Baldwin’s life.
If Beale Street Could Talk is now playing nationwide.