The highly anticipated film IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK had its première this week at Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater as part of the New York Film Festival. The première marked the first time that a film from the New York Film Festival played at the historic Harlem theater. After a Q&A in the legendary theater, the cast celebrated at Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Harlem hotspot Red Rooster.
Cast attendees included KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris, Brian Tyree Henry, Diego Luna, Finn Wittrock, Ed Skrein, Aunjanue Ellis, Emily Rios, Ebony Obsidian, and Dominique Thorne.
Adapted from one of James Baldwin’s most revered works, “If Beale Street Could Talk” is a timeless love story of both a couple’s unbreakable bond and the African-American family’s empowering embrace, as told through the eyes of 19-year-old Tish Rivers (newcomer KiKi Layne). A daughter and wife-to-be, Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny (Stephan James). Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit.
The movie is Academy Award-winning writer/director Barry Jenkins’s first since his Best Picture Oscar-win for Moonlight and the first English-language feature film based on the work of James Baldwin – to whom the movie is dedicated.
Lead actor Stephan James (Fonny) discusses bringing this story to Harlem, the home of Baldwin, and its relevance being portrayed now on the big screen:
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK opens exclusively in NYC on November 30 and expands nationwide on December 7.