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Home / News / Film / Barry Jenkins shares ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ first look at Essence Fest with Regina King, Stephan James and KiKi Layne

Barry Jenkins shares ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ first look at Essence Fest with Regina King, Stephan James and KiKi Layne

It’s been less than two years but people have been highly anticipating the follow-up to Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning Moonlight, which won Best Picture, Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali and Adapted Screenplay (for Jenkins and short story creator Tarell Alvin McCraney) at the 89th Academy Awards. He came to Essence Fest in New Orleans to share a first look at that follow-up, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk.

If Beale Street Could Talk tells the story of Fonny and Tish in 1970s Harlem. When Fonny is accused of rape, Tish desperately scrambles to prove him innocent of the crime while carrying their first child. The film stars Stephan James (Shots Fired) as Fonny, KiKi Layne (Chicago Med) as Tish and two-time Emmy winner Regina King (American Crime) as Tish’s mother, Sharon. It’s set for release by Annapurna Pictures this November.

The quartet then sat for a Q&A with Essence entertainment director Cori Murray to talk about the casting process, not shying away from Baldwin’s fiery language and how a story taking place in 1974 is current for today.

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About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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