By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Barry Jenkins To Adapt James Baldwin’s “If Beale Street Could Talk”

[PR] On the heels of Barry Jenkins’ Academy Award Best Picture Moonlight, Jenkins is set to start production of If Beale Street Could Talk in October 2017. Based on the novel by James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk, is the story of Tish, a newly engaged Harlem woman who races against the clock to prove her lover’s innocence while carrying their firstborn child. It is a celebration of love told through the story of a young couple, their families and their lives, trying to bring about justice through love, for love and the promise of the American dream.

Jenkins, who has wanted to make the film for years, adapted the book during the summer sojourn in 2013 when he wrote Moonlight. Since then Jenkins has worked to secure the trust of the Baldwin Estate. Baldwin’s sister, Gloria Karefa-Smart says, “We are delighted to entrust Barry Jenkins with this adaptation. Barry is a sublimely conscious and gifted filmmaker, whose Medicine for Melancholy impressed us so greatly that we had to work with him.”

Jenkins adds, “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.”

The production will mark Jenkins’ first with Annapurna and a re-teaming of Moonlight’s producing team with PASTEL and Plan B.

Jenkins is repped by CAA and Silent R Management, and Plan B by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

ABOUT ANNAPURNA

Annapurna, founded by Megan Ellison, focuses on creating sophisticated, high-quality content that is critically and commercially conscious while still appealing to a diverse audience. By upholding Ellison’s vision to put filmmakers and artists first and preserve their authentic creative voices no matter the genre or medium, in 5 years, the company has garnered a total of 32 Academy Award nominations for their projects, including ZERO DARK THIRTY, JOY, THE MASTER, FOXCATCHER and THE GRANDMASTER. Ellison is also one of only four honorees ever to receive two Best Picture nominations in the same year, with HER and AMERICAN HUSTLE, both earning nods in 2014. Currently, Annapurna is preparing for the release of Kathryn Bigelow’s DETROIT, its first distribution title, that will hit theaters on August 4, 2017. Other upcoming releases for 2017 include Angela Robinson’s PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN. The company is also in production on Paul Thomas Anderson’s untitled new period film starring Daniel Day-Lewis and is in pre-production on the film adaptation of Maria Semple’s WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE, to be directed by Richard Linklater.  Annapurna’s most recent projects include Mike Mills’ 20TH CENTURY WOMEN, which was nominated for two Golden Globes and earned Mills a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award nomination, as well as SAUSAGE PARTY, WIENER-DOG, and EVERYBODY WANTS SOME, and THE BAD BATCH. Bigelow also directed and partnered with Annapurna on the animated short LAST DAYS, about illegal elephant poaching and the ivory trade.

ABOUT PASTEL

PASTEL is Barry Jenkins, Adele Romanski, Sara Murphy and Mark Ceryak. PASTEL was founded to empower artists to create provocative, boundary-pushing work in film, television and beyond. In addition to developing in-house projects for Jenkins, the company focuses on supporting diverse projects, unique filmmakers and new voices that further the mandate of integrity, urgency and specificity set forth by MOONLIGHT.

ABOUT PLAN B

Founded in 2002 and headed by Brad Pitt and co-presidents Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Plan B Entertainment has produced quality, award-winning film and television projects. Having established themselves with critically acclaimed titles including The Departed and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, the company went on to produce Eat Pray Love, the Palm d’Or winning The Tree of Life, the Academy and Golden Globe Award winning 12 Years a Slave and Moonlight, Emmy Award winning The Normal Heart, and the Best Picture Oscar nominated Selma and The Big Short. Plan B’s recent releases include James Gray’s The Lost City of Z for Amazon, David Michôd’s War Machine and Bong Joon Ho’s Okja for Netflix. Annapurna will release their next film, Brad’s Status, written and directed by Mike White, and they are currently in post-production on Felix van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy. They are also in pre-production on James Gray’s next feature Ad Astra for New Regency and Adam McKay’s next feature Cheney for Annapurna.

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Dear Irene Cho, I will miss your energy and passion; your optimism and joy; your kindness towards friends, colleagues, strangers, struggling filmmakers, or anyone who randomly crossed your path and needed a hand. My brothers and I have long considered you another sibling in our family. Our holiday photos – both western and eastern – have you among all the cousins, in-laws, and kids… in the snow, sun, opening presents, at large dinner gatherings, playing Monopoly, breaking out pomegranate seeds and teaching us all how to dance Gangnam style. Your friendship and loyalty meant a great deal to me: you were the loudest cheerleader when I experienced victories and you were always ready with sushi when I had disappointments. You had endless crazy ideas which always seemed impossible but you would will them into existence. (Like that time you called me and suggested that we host a brunch for newly elected mayor of LA, Eric Garcetti because “he is going to president one day.” We didn’t have enough time or funding, of course, only your desire to do it. So you did, and I followed.) You created The Daily Buzz from nothing and it survived on your steam in spite of many setbacks because you believed in a platform for emerging filmmakers from all nations. Most of all, you were a wonderful mother to your son, Ethan, a devoted wife to your husband, and a wonderful sibling and daughter to your family. We will all miss how your wonderful smile and energy lit up the room and our lives. Rest in peace, Irene.
~ Rose Kuo Remembers Irene Cho on Facebook

“You know, I was never a critic. I never considered myself as a film critic. I started doing short films, writing screenplays and then for awhile, for a few years I wrote some film theory, including some film criticism because I had to, but I was never… I never had the desire to be a film critic. I never envisioned myself as a film critic, but I did that at a period of my life when I thought I kind of needed to understand things about cinema, understand things about film theory, understand the world map of cinema, and writing about movies gave me that, and also the opportunity to meet filmmakers I admired.

“To me, it was the best possible film school. The way it changed my perspective I suppose is that I believe in this connection between theory and practice. I think that you also make movies with ideas and you need to have ideas about filmmaking to achieve whatever you’re trying to achieve through your movies, but then I started making features in 1986 — a while ago — and I left all that behind.

“For the last three decades I’ve been making movies, I’ve been living, I’ve been observing the world. You become a different person, so basically my perspective on the world in general is very different and I hope that with every movie I make a step forward. I kind of hope I’m a better person, and hopefully a better filmmaker and hopefully try to… It’s very hard for me to go back to a different time when I would have different values in my relationship to filmmaking. I had a stiffer notion of cinema.”
~ Olivier Assayas