James Baldwin was born on this day, August 2, in 1924. To celebrate the acclaimed author’s birthday, director Barry Jenkins — whose last film, Moonlight, won Best Picture at the Oscars — shared the first teaser for If Beale Street Could Talk, based on Baldwin’s novel of the same name.
Set in Harlem, New York, in the 1970s, If Beale Street Could Talk follows Clementine “Tish” Rivers (played by relative newcomer Kiki Layne) and Alonzo “Fonny” Hunt (Race‘s Stephan James), two lovers who are torn apart when he’s falsely accused of rape. When Tish discovers she’s pregnant while Fonny’s in prison, she attempts to prove his innocence before their child is born.
It’s obvious from the stunning teaser that Jenkins is working with much of his Moonlight crew again, including editors Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders, cinematographer James Laxton, and composer Nicholas Britell. “[Tarell McCraney, who co-wrote Moonlight] made this beautiful comment after seeing a cut of the film,” said Jenkins about Beale Street. “He’s like, ‘Oh, you made this New York. It’s not a New York of places. It’s a New York of faces.’ I think the faces that existed in the time of Baldwin are still present in the New York I see today and the New York that we made this film.”
If Beale Street Could Talk — which also stars Colman Domingo, Regina King, Brian Tyree Henry (Paper Boi from Atlanta!), Dave Franco, Ed Skrein, Diego Luna, Emily Rios, and Pedro Pascal — opens on November 30.