“The things that torment me the most were the very things that connected me to all the people who were alive.”
James Baldwin’s words linger in the trailer for If Beale Street Could Talk, the next film from Moonlight director Barry Jenkins that’s adapted from Baldwin’s 1974 novel. It’s the story of Tish (Kiki Lane), a Harlem-born woman who’s newly engaged, newly pregnant, and trying to prove the innocence of her imprisoned lover, Fonny (Race‘s Stephen James).
For Jenkins, Aug. 2, the 94th anniversary of Baldwin’s birthday, seemed like an appropriate time to reveal snippets of the passion project he finally got to make, having written the screenplay in the summer of 2013.
“For me, August 2nd has always been a day to pay tribute, so… a teaser of what’s to come,” the filmmaker tweeted.
Jenkins re-tapped his Moonlight cinematographer James Laxton, whose eye for close, intimate shots and keen sense of a scene’s emotional core are quite apparent in this brief look.
With the blessing of the Baldwin Estate, Jenkins began production last October with a cast that includes Regina King (HBO’s The Leftovers), Brian Tyree Henry (FX’s Atlanta), Colman Domingo (AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead), Michael Beach (Aquaman), Pedro Pascal (Wonder Woman 1984), Ed Skrein (Deadpool), Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), and Finn Wittrock (American Horror Story).
“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 an earlier 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 will open in theaters on Nov. 30.