'Moonlight' Director Barry Jenkins Adapting James Baldwin Novel for Next Film

Oscar-winning filmmaker taps 1974's 'If Beale Street Could Talk' for follow-up to Best Picture recipient

'Moonlight' director Barry Jenkins is adapting James Baldwin's 1974 novel, 'If Beale Street Could Talk,' for his next film. Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty

Director Barry Jenkins will follow 2016's Oscar-winning film Moonlight with an adaptation of James Baldwin's 1974 novel, If Beale Street Could Talk. Annapurna and Moonlight production company Plan B will produce the project, Variety reports.

Jenkins wrote the adaptation, with support from the Baldwin estate, in 2013 – during the same summer he authored the Moonlight screenplay. Like the book, the movie follows Tish, a pregnant Harlem woman who frantically works to prove her fiancé Fonny's innocence after he is falsely accused of rape.

"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," Jenkins said in a statement. "Working alongside the Baldwin Estate, I'm excited to finally make that dream come true."

Baldwin's sister, Gloria Karefa-Smart, said the family is "delighted to entrust" Jenkins with the adaptation, after being "greatly" impressed with his debut picture, 2008's Medicine for Melancholy.

Jenkins is also working on an limited series adaptation of Colson Whitehead's 2016 New York Times best-selling novel, The Underground Railroad, for Amazon. The show will chronicle the journey of Cora, a fugitive slave pursuing freedom after escaping her Georgia plantation.

Moonlight, which Rolling Stone's Peter Travers ranked as 2017's third-best film, received eight total nominations at this year's Oscars. Jenkins was nominated for Best Director and won for Best Adapted Screenplay.