‘If Beale Street Could Talk’: Barry Jenkins Reveals James Baldwin Notes on Actors He Wanted For Adaptation

  • Indiewire
‘If Beale Street Could Talk’: Barry Jenkins Reveals James Baldwin Notes on Actors He Wanted For Adaptation
Celebrated African American author and culture critic James Baldwin had very few engagements with Hollywood, mostly appearing in several documentaries as himself. Most recently, he came to moviegoers in archival footage as the subject of Raoul Peck’s Oscar-nominated 2016 documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro.” Baldwin was a fervent critic of America’s commercial entertainment complex, so it may come as a surprise to learn that, 40 years ago, he was considering a film version of his 1974 novel, “If Beale Street Could Talk” — which has finally made its way to a movie version, with Barry Jenkins at the helm.

It turns out that Baldwin jotted down ideas on how he would approach the adaptation, including some suggestions for the cast. Jenkins shared details on this previously-unreleased information during an hour-long in-depth conversation at a New York Film Festival event ahead of the film’s U.S. premiere.

During the wide-ranging conversation,
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