New Hollywood Podcast: ‘Beale Street’ Star Stephan James Continues To Rise And Represent

Stephan James is quickly becoming an actor known for notable prestige projects. With starring roles in award season favorite If Beale Street Could Talk and Amazon’s Homecoming, the Canadian native is easily becoming a breakout star of 2018 and th…

Stephan James is quickly becoming an actor known for notable prestige projects. With starring roles in award season favorite If Beale Street Could Talk and Amazon’s Homecoming, the Canadian native is easily becoming a breakout star of 2018 and there is no sign of stopping for him — except for a recent stop he made at the New Hollywood Podcast. James is not new to the Hollywood scene. He starred in various TV series starting in 2010 including the popular teen drama series D…

‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Cast And Crew On Finding The “Interior Life” Of James Baldwin’s Novel – The Contenders NY

For writer-director Barry Jenkins, the story of If Beale Street Could Talk isn’t entirely found in its plot, but rather in its impressionistic, sometimes dialogue-free scenes that unfold for minutes at a time.
“I think they advance the emot…

For writer-director Barry Jenkins, the story of If Beale Street Could Talk isn’t entirely found in its plot, but rather in its impressionistic, sometimes dialogue-free scenes that unfold for minutes at a time. “I think they advance the emotion in a very concrete way,” he said at Deadline’s Contenders New York event. “When you read a novel, you read the dialogue between characters but then the author will go on this riff. That’s the interior life of these characters…

‘Homecoming’ Star Stephan James on His ‘Casual’ Chemistry Read With Julia Roberts

Stephan James, who appeared in “Selma” and “Race,” admits he’s been a “little bit busy” balancing Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” with a starring role in Amazon’s podcast-to-TV adaptation “Homecoming,” opposite Julia Roberts. How did you ge…

Stephan James, who appeared in “Selma” and “Race,” admits he’s been a “little bit busy” balancing Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” with a starring role in Amazon’s podcast-to-TV adaptation “Homecoming,” opposite Julia Roberts. How did you get cast?  I got a script I thought was pretty phenomenal. So I listened to the “Homecoming” […]

‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Star Stephan James Lands Major Role Opposite Chadwick Boseman In ‘17 Bridges’

EXCLUSIVE: Stephan James is set to star opposite Chadwick Boseman, J.K. Simmons, Sienna Miller and Taylor Kitsch in  17 Bridges, an action thriller from STXfilms.
Directed by Brian Kirk, the film follows an embattled NYPD detective (Boseman) who is thr…

EXCLUSIVE: Stephan James is set to star opposite Chadwick Boseman, J.K. Simmons, Sienna Miller and Taylor Kitsch in  17 Bridgesan action thriller from STXfilms. Directed by Brian Kirk, the film follows an embattled NYPD detective (Boseman) who is thrust into a citywide manhunt for a pair of cop killers after uncovering a massive and unexpected conspiracy. When the search intensifies, extreme measures are taken to prevent the killers from escaping Manhattan as the…

‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Review: Barry Jenkins Delivers Stunning Romance With Aftertaste of Injustice

For his follow-up to the Best Picture winner “Moonlight,” director Barry Jenkins delivered a vivid and deeply romantic adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel “If Beale Street Could Talk” on Sunday at the Toronto Film Festival.

The film is a bold and elegant celebration of young black love in the face of a Harlem rife with police corruption. The leads, Canadian actor Stephan James and newcomer KiKi Layne, received a standing ovation alongside Jenkins after credits rolled at the Princess of Wales theater.

Stephan and Layne play 19-year-old Tish and 22-year-old Alfonzo (Fonny, for short), lifelong friends whose soul connection is so pure that Jenkins paints it as divine — even as the sociopolitical climate of their time threatens to tear them apart.

Also Read: ‘Life Itself’ Film Review: Dan Fogelman’s Roided-Out Tearjerker Is Darkly Satisfying

Tish is a good girl from a hardworking Harlem family, represented in salt-of-the-earth performances from Regina King, Colman Domingo and scene stealer Teyonah Parris (“Chi-Raq,” “Mad Men”).

When we first meet her, Tish must break the serious news that she’s expecting Fonny’s baby to her own blood and the snooty women of Fonny’s nuclear family. Not only are the lovers unwed, Fonny is currently behind bars for a rape he didn’t commit.

It’s a violent sex crime committed against a woman he does not know, in a neighborhood far away. A crime for which he has a two eyewitnesses corroborating his alibi, and only a racist cop as a witness for the prosecution. To say nothing of the fact that he vehemently denies it, and the whole of these characters spend the duration of the film agonizing over the impossibility of the event.

But there he sits behind glass, pining for his love and the child that grows within her. Tish, too, becomes bound by the financial strain of his defense, the judgment of her mother-in-law, the physical stress of holding down a job and surviving a turbulent pregnancy. She navigates this as a young black woman in an historical moment that does not want her to succeed. That does not want her to be visible.

Also Read: ‘Where Hands Touch’ Film Review: Amandla Stenberg Packs Emotion in Earnest Holocaust Drama

“Every black person born in America was born on Beale Street, born in the black neighborhood of some American city, whether in Jackson, Mississippi, or in Harlem, New York. Beale Street is our legacy,” wrote James Baldwin, as shown on a title card before the film begins.

“Moonlight” showed us how shame, abuse and isolation evade individual circumstances, “Beale Street” shows us in gorgeous and saturated detail how powerful discovering love can be — and how long it lingers through trials and degradation.

In their moments walking the streets, apartment hunting or having sex for the first time, composer Nicholas Britell gives Tish and Fonny orchestral string pieces so haunting and poignant that one pull of the bow feels like hours playing inside these intimate images.

Also Read: Barry Jenkins Will Direct Every Episode of Amazon Studios’ ‘Underground Railroad’ Adaptation

Their glances, light touches, their smiles, even their squabbles and mundane chores are breathtaking. These moments are purposefully and justly given reverence by Jenkins, who after the premiere said “Moonlight” told the story of the family he had and “Beale Street” was the family he dreamt of.

It’s there in this work, that dream. “Beale Street” is not inclusive, it is transcendent.

The tragedy here is what befalls Fonny and so many men like him, in the 70s and now. A broken system cannot provide the happy ending worthy of such epic romance. It feels like a purposeful gut punch from Jenkins, how deserving his lead characters are of happiness and how completely unrealistic it is they would find it.

“We’re not 19 and 22 anymore,” Tish observes at the end of the film. “We can’t afford to be.”

It leaves a bitter taste, wondering how many love stories and other human triumphs are untold because their heroes are behind bars — or on the other side of the glass waiting to lift the phone and reach the other side.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Never Look Away’ Film Review: ‘Lives of Others’ Director Returns With Bold Tale of Art and Love

‘Ben Is Back’ Film Review: Julia Roberts Goes for Broke in Another Troubled Teen Movie

‘Widows’ Film Review: Viola Davis, Steve McQueen Team Up for a Curious Heist Movie

‘Life Itself’ Film Review: Dan Fogelman’s Roided-Out Tearjerker Is Darkly Satisfying

For his follow-up to the Best Picture winner “Moonlight,” director Barry Jenkins delivered a vivid and deeply romantic adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel “If Beale Street Could Talk” on Sunday at the Toronto Film Festival.

The film is a bold and elegant celebration of young black love in the face of a Harlem rife with police corruption. The leads, Canadian actor Stephan James and newcomer KiKi Layne, received a standing ovation alongside Jenkins after credits rolled at the Princess of Wales theater.

Stephan and Layne play 19-year-old Tish and 22-year-old Alfonzo (Fonny, for short), lifelong friends whose soul connection is so pure that Jenkins paints it as divine — even as the sociopolitical climate of their time threatens to tear them apart.

Tish is a good girl from a hardworking Harlem family, represented in salt-of-the-earth performances from Regina King, Colman Domingo and scene stealer Teyonah Parris (“Chi-Raq,” “Mad Men”).

When we first meet her, Tish must break the serious news that she’s expecting Fonny’s baby to her own blood and the snooty women of Fonny’s nuclear family. Not only are the lovers unwed, Fonny is currently behind bars for a rape he didn’t commit.

It’s a violent sex crime committed against a woman he does not know, in a neighborhood far away. A crime for which he has a two eyewitnesses corroborating his alibi, and only a racist cop as a witness for the prosecution. To say nothing of the fact that he vehemently denies it, and the whole of these characters spend the duration of the film agonizing over the impossibility of the event.

But there he sits behind glass, pining for his love and the child that grows within her. Tish, too, becomes bound by the financial strain of his defense, the judgment of her mother-in-law, the physical stress of holding down a job and surviving a turbulent pregnancy. She navigates this as a young black woman in an historical moment that does not want her to succeed. That does not want her to be visible.

“Every black person born in America was born on Beale Street, born in the black neighborhood of some American city, whether in Jackson, Mississippi, or in Harlem, New York. Beale Street is our legacy,” wrote James Baldwin, as shown on a title card before the film begins.

“Moonlight” showed us how shame, abuse and isolation evade individual circumstances, “Beale Street” shows us in gorgeous and saturated detail how powerful discovering love can be — and how long it lingers through trials and degradation.

In their moments walking the streets, apartment hunting or having sex for the first time, composer Nicholas Britell gives Tish and Fonny orchestral string pieces so haunting and poignant that one pull of the bow feels like hours playing inside these intimate images.

Their glances, light touches, their smiles, even their squabbles and mundane chores are breathtaking. These moments are purposefully and justly given reverence by Jenkins, who after the premiere said “Moonlight” told the story of the family he had and “Beale Street” was the family he dreamt of.

It’s there in this work, that dream. “Beale Street” is not inclusive, it is transcendent.

The tragedy here is what befalls Fonny and so many men like him, in the 70s and now. A broken system cannot provide the happy ending worthy of such epic romance. It feels like a purposeful gut punch from Jenkins, how deserving his lead characters are of happiness and how completely unrealistic it is they would find it.

“We’re not 19 and 22 anymore,” Tish observes at the end of the film. “We can’t afford to be.”

It leaves a bitter taste, wondering how many love stories and other human triumphs are untold because their heroes are behind bars — or on the other side of the glass waiting to lift the phone and reach the other side.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Never Look Away' Film Review: 'Lives of Others' Director Returns With Bold Tale of Art and Love

'Ben Is Back' Film Review: Julia Roberts Goes for Broke in Another Troubled Teen Movie

'Widows' Film Review: Viola Davis, Steve McQueen Team Up for a Curious Heist Movie

'Life Itself' Film Review: Dan Fogelman's Roided-Out Tearjerker Is Darkly Satisfying

‘Homecoming’: First-Look Photos From Julia Roberts’ Amazon Series

Amazon has released the first photos from Homecoming, its high-profile psychological thriller series starring Julia Roberts and directed by Mr. Robot‘s Sam Esmail. Have a look below.
Amazon made a straight-to-series two-season order for Homecomin…

Amazon has released the first photos from Homecoming, its high-profile psychological thriller series starring Julia Roberts and directed by Mr. Robot‘s Sam Esmail. Have a look below. Amazon made a straight-to-series two-season order for Homecoming nearly a year ago, amid a very competitive situation. Here’s the logline: Heidi Bergman (Roberts) is a caseworker at the Homecoming Transitional Support Center, a Geist Group facility helping soldiers transition back to civilian…

‘Homecoming’: Stephan James To Star Opposite Julia Roberts In Amazon Series

EXCLUSIVE: Shots Fired star Stephan James has landed the male lead opposite Julia Roberts in Homecoming, the half-hour drama from Universal Cable Productions, Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail and Anonymous Content. It has a two-season straight-to-series order at Amazon.
Homecoming, based on Gimlet Media’s breakout fictional podcast, is written by the podcast’s creators Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg and directed by Esmail. It is a psychological thriller that centers on…

EXCLUSIVE: Shots Fired star Stephan James has landed the male lead opposite Julia Roberts in Homecoming, the half-hour drama from Universal Cable Productions, Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail and Anonymous Content. It has a two-season straight-to-series order at Amazon. Homecoming, based on Gimlet Media's breakout fictional podcast, is written by the podcast's creators Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg and directed by Esmail. It is a psychological thriller that centers on…

‘Shots Fired’ Stars Talk Working With ‘Spirit of Service’: ‘We Are Woke for Real’

Fox’s new limited drama “Shots Fired” continued its series of special screenings on Thursday night at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles. The post-screening panel included creators and executive producers Gina Prince-Bythewood, Reggie Bythewood, and Francie Calfo, and cast members Sanaa Lathan, Stephan James, Tristan “Mack” Wilds, Stephen Moyer, Aisha Hinds, DeWanda Wise, and Conor… Read more »

Fox’s new limited drama “Shots Fired” continued its series of special screenings on Thursday night at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles. The post-screening panel included creators and executive producers Gina Prince-Bythewood, Reggie Bythewood, and Francie Calfo, and cast members Sanaa Lathan, Stephan James, Tristan “Mack” Wilds, Stephen Moyer, Aisha Hinds, DeWanda Wise, and Conor... Read more »

‘Shots Fired’ Star Richard Dreyfuss Calls It ‘The Most Current Show You Will Ever See’

“Shots Fired” star Richard Dreyfuss says that viewers will be blown away by how relevant the series is to the current climate of the United States.

“We shot probably the most current show you will ever see,” Dreyfuss said at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday. “You’re going to be reminded of the most current headlines of your life.”

The story follows the story of an African-American officer who shoots a white teenager, and how the shooting echoes through their community. Sanaa Lathan will play an expert investigator who digs into the case, alongside a special prosecutor (Stephan James) sent to the town by the Department of Justice.

Also Read: ‘Prison Break,’ ‘Making History,’ ‘Shots Fired’: Here Are Fox’s Spring Premiere Dates

The pair must navigate media attention, public debate and social unrest as they try to keep the town from erupting into race riots. Along the way, they are pulled into the mysterious case of an African-American teenager who was killed by police just weeks before the shooting at the center of the series.

Co-creator and executive producer Reggie Bythewood said mystery is central to the message they are trying to convey.

“We have a creed for the show, which is: Get the audience to the edge of their seats and when they’re leaning forward, hit them with the truth,” he said. “Clearly we wanted a show with great characters [that] really dealt with the social issues we dialed into, but the mystery element is kind of the glue that keeps us coming back.”

Also Read: Helen Hunt, Stephen Moyer, Richard Dreyfuss Join Fox’s ‘Shots Fired’

Undisputed Cinema and Imagine Television are producing “Shots Fired” in association with 20th Century Fox Television.

The project is executive-produced by Gina Prince-Bythewood, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo. Prince-Bythewood will direct.

“Shots Fired” will premiere on March 22.

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“Shots Fired” star Richard Dreyfuss says that viewers will be blown away by how relevant the series is to the current climate of the United States.

“We shot probably the most current show you will ever see,” Dreyfuss said at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday. “You’re going to be reminded of the most current headlines of your life.”

The story follows the story of an African-American officer who shoots a white teenager, and how the shooting echoes through their community. Sanaa Lathan will play an expert investigator who digs into the case, alongside a special prosecutor (Stephan James) sent to the town by the Department of Justice.

The pair must navigate media attention, public debate and social unrest as they try to keep the town from erupting into race riots. Along the way, they are pulled into the mysterious case of an African-American teenager who was killed by police just weeks before the shooting at the center of the series.

Co-creator and executive producer Reggie Bythewood said mystery is central to the message they are trying to convey.

“We have a creed for the show, which is: Get the audience to the edge of their seats and when they’re leaning forward, hit them with the truth,” he said. “Clearly we wanted a show with great characters [that] really dealt with the social issues we dialed into, but the mystery element is kind of the glue that keeps us coming back.”

Undisputed Cinema and Imagine Television are producing “Shots Fired” in association with 20th Century Fox Television.

The project is executive-produced by Gina Prince-Bythewood, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo. Prince-Bythewood will direct.

“Shots Fired” will premiere on March 22.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Lee Daniels Promises to Be 'Unchained' With New Fox Musical Drama 'Star'

Fox Boss Gary Newman Talks 'Pitch,' 'Exorcist,' 'This Is Us'

'Empire' Renewed by Fox for Season 4