American actor, singer, writer, and director Billy Porter has not only been cast to play James Baldwin in an upcoming movie based on the life of the latter, he’s also been tapped to co-write its script with Dan McCabe.
The film, which remains untitled, will be adapted from David Leeming’s 1994 book “James Baldwin: A Biography.” Leeming is an emeritus professor of English at the University of Connecticut, as well as Baldwin’s close friend and colleague of 25 years. The book covered Baldwin’s life “from his birth in Harlem in 1924 to his self-imposed exile in Europe, his later years as political activist, and his public funeral in 1987.”
In a statement, Billy Porter, said: “As a Black queer man on this planet with relative consciousness I find myself, like James Baldwin said, ‘in a rage all the time.’ I am because James was.” The Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award winner added, “I stand on James Baldwin’s shoulders, and I intend to expand his legacy for generations to come.”
James Baldwin is an iconic gay author famous for his timeless contribution to literature and music. His legacy included several novels, poems, plays, and essays. He reportedly also wrote several songs for Ray Charles.
Baldwin is known as a fearless and highly insightful author having explored and written about topics such as race and racism, sex, same-sex relationships, and social class that were regarded as taboo and controversial during his time. His novel Giovanni’s Room (1956), which tells the story of an American man and his relationships with other men—Giovanni, whom he met in Paris in particular—is a great example of those works.
His novel Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953) made it to Modern Library’s 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century at number 39 while his essay collection Notes of a Native Son (1955) landed on the 19th spot of their 100 best nonfiction list.
James Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924, in Harlem, New York to Emma Jones, a young single mother; but Baldwin lived most of his life in France. He died from stomach cancer on December 1, 1987, at his home in St. Paul de Vence, France.
Reportedly, Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group Motion Pictures will executive produce the film alongside with Carolyn Folks, Jennifer Lucas, Matthew Signer and Chris Charalambous. Meanwhile, Billy Porter and D.J. Gugenheim of Incognegro Productions will serve as producers.
For more information on the upcoming film, read here.