Ahead of the UK release of Barry Jenkins' If Beale Street Could Talk, we spoke with Stephan James who plays 'Fonny', a young black man living in 1970s Harlem who, when falsely accused of rape, tries to hold on to hope and love with the help of his fiancée 'Tish' (Kiki Layne). Here, James reveals what it was like working with newcomer Kiki Layne and Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), the myths surrounding black masculinity and what it means to now be a part of James Baldwin's legacy, the author of the novel the film is based on.
If Beale Street Could Talk is released in UK cinemas on 8th February. It's already won a host of awards including Critic's Choice Awards for Best Supporting Actress (Regina King) and Best Adapted Screenplay, a Golden Globe for King and it has also been nominated for three Academy Awards (Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Score and Best Adapted Screenplay). All deserved, and more needed, in our opinion – Beale Street is a stunning film, one that tackles love in all its forms in a beautiful yet hautningly topical way. Look out for the moment between Fonny and Daniel, played by Brian Tyree Henry – chills. This is definitely a SceneTV must see!
Also check out our interview with the Oscar winning Barry Jenkins here.