Barry Jenkins' James Baldwin Adaptation Casts 'Shots Fired' Star

Stephan James - Shots Fired FYC Event - Getty - H 2017
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He will play the falsely-accused Fonny in the love story 'If Beale Street Could Talk.'

Stephan James is in negotiations to star in Barry Jenkins' adaptation of If Beale Street Could Talk, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

Based on James Baldwin's 1974 novel, the '70s-set love story centers on Tish, a newly engaged Harlem woman who races against the clock to prove her lover’s innocence while carrying their unborn child. The actor, who stars on Fox's Shots Fired series, will play Fonny, Tish's fiance who is false accused of a crime.

Annapurna Pictures will finance and produce the adaptation, along with Moonlight production company Plan B. The movie marks the first feature under the production pact between Jenkins' Pastel Pictures and Annapurna. Moonlight director Jenkins has been working closely with the Baldwin estate to write the screenplay. Production is slated to begin in October.

James, who also appeared in the historical drama Selma and the series Degrassi: The Next Generation, previously portrayed the historic Olympic athlete Jesse Owens in last year's Focus biopic Race. He is repped by Innovative Artists, Primary Wave Entertainment and Noble Caplan Abrams.