WATCH: ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Brings James Baldwin’s Harlem to Life

By Sameer Rao Aug 02, 2018

James Baldwin‘s name trended on Twitter today (August 2) on what would have been the late novelist, essayist and social critic’s 94th birthday. Barry Jenkins, the Oscar-winning director and screenwriter behind "Moonlight," honored the occasion by releasing a new trailer for his film adaptation of Baldwin’s 1974 novel "If Beale Street Could Talk." 

The two-and-a-quarter-minute trailer introduces viewers to Jenkins’ rendering of Harlem, where Baldwin himself was born, in the early 1970s. 

The clip introduces the audience to the characters that populate Baldwin’s book. One scene features Tish (KiKi Layne, "Chicago Med") in an intimate conversation with her fiancé Fonny (Stephan James, "Race") across the glass of a jail’s visiting area. The movie, like the novel, focuses on how Tish and her family fight to exonerate Fonny after he is set up and incaracerated for a rape he didn’t commit. Regina King ("Seven Seconds"), Brian Tyree Henry ("Atlanta") and Teyonah Parris ("Chi-Raq") appear in supporting roles. 

Watch the trailer before catching "If Beale Street Could Talk" in theaters this fall. The trailer did not include a premiere date, but the International Movie Database lists the debut as November 30.