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Barry Jenkins’ ‘Moonlight’ Draws Naomie Harris, Andre Holland, Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monae + Others

Barry Jenkins' 'Moonlight' Draws Naomie Harris, Andre Holland, Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monae + Others

A couple of months after Barry Jenkins’ eagerly-anticipated “Medicine for Melancholy” follow-up – titled “Moonlight”- attracted Brad Pitt’s Plan B, indie distributor A24 (“Ex Machina”) and producer Adele Romanski, the project has now drawn a solid cast of actors who will co-star in the film: Naomie Harris, Andre Holland and Mahershala Ali.

The trio will be joined by relative newcomers Alex R. Hibbert and Jaden Piner, who were cast after an extensive casting call in the Miami area, where the film will be set.

Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes and Jharrel Jerome round out the cast, with Janelle Monae also attached, set to make her big screen debut in the film.

The project, based on the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by award-winning playwright Tarell McCraney (which was an IFP 2014 No Borders International Co-Production Market selection – the premiere U.S. forum for buyers, sales agents and financiers to meet with established producers), is a triptych drama about black queer youth, following Miami kids as they navigate the temptations of the drug trade and their burgeoning sexuality.

Long-time readers will recall our 2012 announcement that Jenkins was working with McCraney on what they described as a triptych feature about Liberty City, although, understandably, at the time, Barry wasn’t keen on revealing much about the collaboration.

Now we know more…

I’m most familiar with the talented Tarell’s (a graduate of Yale School of Drama) “The Brother/Sister Plays” – a gritty, lyrical, breakthrough trilogy of plays on modern-day coming-of-age stories of kinship, love, and heartache, set in Louisiana and loosely draw on, broadly, Yoruba mythology. It was staged in theaters across the country, including in my neck of the woods (NYC) a couple of years ago.

His collaboration here with Jenkins is certainly something to watch out for.

A24 is fully financing the film adaptation, with filming getting underway in Miami.
A fall 2016 release is eyed.

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