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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“The Motion Picture Academy, at considerable expense and with great efficiency, runs all the nominated pictures at its own theater, showing each picture twice, once in the afternoon, once in the evening. A nominated picture is one in connection with which any kind of work is nominated for an award, not necessarily acting, directing, or writing; it may be a purely technical matter such as set-dressing or sound work. This running of pictures has the object of permitting the voters to look at films which they may happen to have missed or to have partly forgotten. It is an attempt to make them realize that pictures released early in the year, and since overlaid with several thicknesses of battered celluloid, are still in the running and that consideration of only those released a short time before the end of the year is not quite just.

“The effort is largely a waste. The people with votes don’t go to these showings. They send their relatives, friends, or servants. They have had enough of looking at pictures, and the voices of destiny are by no means inaudible in the Hollywood air. They have a brassy tone, but they are more than distinct.”All this is good democracy of a sort. We elect Congressmen and Presidents in much the same way, so why not actors, cameramen, writers, and all rest of the people who have to do with the making of pictures? If we permit noise, ballyhoo, and theater to influence us in the selection of the people who are to run the country, why should we object to the same methods in the selection of meritorious achievements in the film business? If we can huckster a President into the White House, why cannot we huckster the agonized Miss Joan Crawford or the hard and beautiful Miss Olivia de Havilland into possession of one of those golden statuettes which express the motion picture industry’s frantic desire to kiss itself on the back of its neck? The only answer I can think of is that the motion picture is an art. I say this with a very small voice. It is an inconsiderable statement and has a hard time not sounding a little ludicrous. Nevertheless it is a fact, not in the least diminished by the further facts that its ethos is so far pretty low and that its techniques are dominated by some pretty awful people.

“If you think most motion pictures are bad, which they are (including the foreign), find out from some initiate how they are made, and you will be astonished that any of them could be good. Making a fine motion picture is like painting “The Laughing Cavalier” in Macy’s basement, with a floorwalker to mix your colors for you. Of course most motion pictures are bad. Why wouldn’t they be?”
~ Raymond Chandler, “Oscar Night In Hollywood,” 1948

“Film festivals, for those who don’t know, are not exactly the glitzy red carpet affairs you see on TV. Those do happen, but they’re a tiny part of the festival. The main part of any film festival are the thousands of people with festival passes hanging on lanyards beneath their anoraks, carrying brochures for movies you have never and will never hear of, desperately scrabbling to sell whatever movie it is to buyers from all over the world. Every hotel bar, every cafe, every restaurant is filled to the brim with these people, talking loudly about non-existent deals. The Brits are the worst because most of the British film industry, with a few honourable exceptions, are scam artists and chancers who move around from company to company failing to get anything good made and trying to cast Danny Dyer in anything that moves. I’m seeing guys here who I first met twenty years ago and who are still wearing the same clothes, doing the same job (albeit for a different company) and spinning the same line of bullshit about how THIS movie has Al Pacino or Meryl Streep or George Clooney attached and, whilst that last one didn’t work out, THIS ONE is going to be HUGE. As the day goes on, they start drinking and it all gets ugly and, well, that’s why I’m the guy walking through the Tiergarten with a camera taking pictures of frozen lakes and pretending this isn’t happening.

“Berlin is cool, though and I’ve been lucky to be doing meetings with some people who want to actually get things done. We’ll see what comes of it.”
~ Julian Simpson