Barry Jenkins Casts 'Race' Star Stephan James In 'If Beale Street Could Talk'

Stephan James has had the benefit of playing two civil rights icons already in his short acting career: John Lewis in Ava DuVernay's Selma, and then Jesse Owens in last year's biopic, Race. Now he won't be playing an important figure in black history, he'll be working alongside one. James is in talks to star in Barry Jenkins' follow-up to Moonlight, an adaptation of the great James Baldwin's If Beale Street Could Talk.

We learned of the film last month when Jenkins, Annapurna Pictures, and the Baldwin estate came together on the project, one that Jenkins has been wanting to make for a long time. It's based on one of two novels Baldwin wrote in the '70s which deal with the importance of family in the black community. It takes place in '70s Harlem and follows a pregnant woman named Tish as she attempts to clear the name of her fiancé, Fonny, who has been falsely accused of rape. James would take on the role of Fonny assuming a deal comes together.

It's another big move for James who recently received a ton of praise for his performance in the Fox miniseries, Shots Fired. Am I wrong in thinking Janelle Monae might be a killer choice to play Tish? [Variety]