After his history-making turn directing Moonlight, Barry Jenkins has chosen to tackle the work of one of America’s great literary icons: James Baldwin.
Jenkins is adapting Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk as his next feature film. As DNAinfo reports, Jenkins is choosing to stay true to the story by filming in Harlem, where Baldwin, one of the area’s most famous residents, set his story.
The Oscar-winning director appeared at the Community Board 10 meeting in Harlem on Wednesday night to discuss the project.
“Normally, when you do a film like this you can go to Vancouver or Toronto and find a place that looks like Harlem,” Jenkins said, adding air quotes when saying “looks,” while speaking at at the Community Board 10 meeting. “But it was the wish of the Baldwin estate and a wish of myself, as a creator, that we do it here in Harlem.”
Beale Street is a love story that follows a young couple, Fonny and Tish, in 1970s Harlem. When Fonny gets falsely accused of raping another woman, a pregnant Tish begins a desperate search to exonerate her lover before her baby is born. The story is told primarily through Tish’s eyes.
Harlem is also an indelible part of the story’s landscape. And it makes sense that a movie centered on black love should be filmed in one of the country’s most iconic black neighborhoods.
As DNAinfo reports, the movie will primarily be shot on Edgecombe Avenue. Jenkins is scheduled to begin filming this month.