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Barry Jenkins On Going From ‘Moonlight’ To ‘Beale Street’, The Oscars Debacle & More – Behind The Lens

Barry Jenkins

In the summer of 2013, Barry Jenkins went to Europe for inspiration to write an adaptation of James Baldwin’s seminal novel If Beale Street Could Talk. Not only did he do that (without having the rights), but he also wrote an adaptation of Moonlight. That film went on to win him an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and took Best Picture in perhaps the most memorable moment — and envelope-mixup catastrophe — in Oscar history.

If Beale Street Could Talk
Annapurna Pictures

He doesn’t like to talk about it a whole lot anymore, but he said he would make an exception for my interview with at Deadline’s studios for my Behind the Lens video series. Watch for the moment he reveals what was going through his head at that moment when Moonlight was finally announced as the real winner, what missing the real moment of that reveal means to him now, as well as why he sometimes feels the need to go back and rewatch his acceptance speech for his screenplay win.

Of course, Jenkins also came to talk about his new film If Beale Street Could Talk and what adapting Baldwin for the author’s first-ever English-language narrative film means. He talks about the differences between writing and directing, as well as the unique theme of his new film and how he went about casting it.

Check out our conversation above. For past episodes of Behind the Lens, click here.


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