Jenkins came to Baldwin as an adult. You need to read James Baldwin. That was how my love affair began. Jenkins is currently working on another adaptation, of the Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Underground Railroad , by Colson Whitehead. It is the story of two slaves who escape southern plantations through a network of safe houses and secret tunnels to reach the northern states, where they will be free.
Working with a team of screenwriters, Jenkins will direct a hour TV series for Amazon. Both McCraney and Jenkins grew up in the predominantly black, working-class Miami neighbourhood of Liberty City, attending the same high school Jenkins is a year older. I feel like Tarell was always proud to be who he was, and was likely ostracised for it.
I was more a follower than a leader, you know, when I was that age. Two years ago, the director told the Guardian: There was usually food, but sometimes not. How did his childhood shape him? It was only in the making of this film [Moonlight], and to be honest, watching the actors relive some of the things we lived through.
Which films inspired him, growing up? And those colleges had all this shit going on? This is so energising! I would catch the bus to go to the AMC theatre downtown.
Winning an Academy Award for best picture must have felt even more farfetched. He grins when I bring up one of the most rollercoaster nights in Oscar history.
The only thing shocking about the whole night to me was the switch, you know? It was a very wild night. Very wild. Given the OscarsSoWhite furore of the previous year when there was not a single actor or director of colour among 25 nominees , there must have been air punches around the globe when Moonlight belatedly scooped the prize. And I can see that the generation behind us, they see that, and they feed off it. Ava did Selma and then created this television show [Queen Sugar], and said every episode was going to be directed by a woman, most of them women of colour. When you climb the ladder, you send it back down.
He points to technology as another democratising force. I tell Jenkins I look forward to the day when the list of British black film-makers who have been entrusted to make hits is as long as the American one. But the director says he has always admired the European system of financing films. Even so, I say, the US seems more awake to the talents of a generation of British actors and film-makers: How many more times can they play a stabbing victim on Casualty? This is the direction I want the country to go in.
Instead, Jenkins thinks there are reasons to be positive about black British culture right now — and that a change is coming soon. One night, Juan encounters Paula smoking crack with one of his customers. Juan berates her for her addiction and neglect of her son, but she rebukes him for selling crack to her in the first place; all the while they argue over Chiron's upbringing.
She implies that she knows why Chiron gets beaten up by his peers, alluding to "the way he walks," before going home and taking out frustrations on Chiron. The next day, Chiron admits to Juan and Teresa that he hates his mother and asks what a " faggot " means. Juan describes it as "a word used to make gay people feel bad. After asking Juan whether he sold drugs to Paula, Chiron leaves as Juan hangs his head in shame.
barry jenkins on 'moonlight,' black identity, and homosexuality
Now a teenager, Chiron Ashton Sanders juggles avoiding school bully Terrel Patrick Decile and spending time with Teresa, who has lived alone since Juan's death. Paula supports her crack addiction with prostitution and coerces Chiron into giving her money Teresa loans him. One night, Chiron has a dream in which his friend Kevin Jharrel Jerome has sex with a girl in Teresa's backyard.
On another night, Kevin visits Chiron at the beach near his house. While smoking a blunt , the two discuss their ambitions and the nickname Kevin gave Chiron when they were children. They kiss , and Kevin masturbates Chiron. The next morning, Terrel manipulates Kevin into participating in a hazing ritual.
Kevin reluctantly punches Chiron until he is unable to stand before watching as Terrel and his goons beat him up.
When a social worker urges him to reveal his attackers' identities, Chiron, not wanting to turn him in refuses, stating that reporting them will not solve anything. The next day, an enraged Chiron walks into class with a sense of purpose and puts Terrel in his place by smashing him over the head with a chair. The police arrive, arrest Chiron for assault , and send him to juvenile hall.
Now going by the nickname "Black," an adult Chiron Trevante Rhodes , is released from prison and deals drugs in Atlanta. He receives frequent calls from Paula, who asks him to visit her at the drug treatment center where she now lives. The next day, he wakes up and realizes he has had a wet dream. While visiting Paula, Chiron stands up to her. She proceeds to apologize for not loving him when he needed it most and tells him she loves him even if he does not love her back.
Eventually, the two of them reconcile before Paula lets her son go. Chiron travels to Miami and reunites with Kevin, who now works at a diner. When his attempts to probe Chiron about his life result in silence, Kevin tells him he's had a child with an ex-girlfriend and, although the relationship ended, he is fulfilled by his role as a father.
Chiron proceeds to ask Kevin why he called, to which Kevin plays a song on the jukebox that made him think of Chiron. After Kevin serves Chiron dinner, the two of them go to his apartment.
Barry Jenkins on Moonlight, the Oscars and Trump’s America | Financial Times
Kevin tells Chiron that he is happy despite the fact that his life didn't turn out as he had hoped, resulting in Chiron breaking down and admitting that he has not been intimate with anybody since their encounter years ago and since his arrest. Kevin comforts him and they embrace.
In a flashback, Little stands on a beach in the moonlight. The theater piece was shelved for about a decade before it served as the basis for Moonlight.
Barry Jenkins: ‘When you climb the ladder, you send it back down’
After the release of his debut feature film Medicine for Melancholy in , Barry Jenkins wrote various screenplays, none of which entered production. Although the original play contained three parts, they ran simultaneously so that the audience would experience a day in the life of Little, Chiron and Black concurrently. The result was a screenplay that reflected the similar upbringings of Jenkins and McCraney.
The character Juan was based on the father of McCraney's brother, who was also a childhood "defender" of McCraney, as Juan was for Chiron. Jenkins looked for financing for the film during , finding success after sharing the script with the executives of Plan B Entertainment at the year's Telluride Film Festival.
Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner of Plan B Entertainment became producers of the film,  while A24 undertook to finance it and handle worldwide distribution, which marked the company's first production. Different actors portrayed Chiron and Kevin in each chapter of the film. Ashton Sanders was cast in the role of teen Chiron.
Naomie Harris was initially reluctant to portray Paula, stating that she did not want to play a stereotypical depiction of a black woman. She related her experiences of bullying to the addicts' attempts of escaping trauma. Romanski proposed Juan be played by Mahershala Ali , who had a role in one of her previously produced films, Kicks. Jenkins was hesitant when casting Ali due to his role as Remy Danton in House of Cards ; however, he was convinced after witnessing Ali's acting range and understanding of his character. Filming began on October 14, , in Miami , Florida. Liberty Square , a housing project located in the neighborhood of Liberty City , was chosen as one of the primary locations as both McCraney and Jenkins grew up in the area.
During filming, Jenkins made sure that the three actors for Chiron did not meet each other until after filming to avoid any imitations of one another. Jenkins worked with cinematographer and longtime friend James Laxton , who previously shot Medicine for Melancholy. As a result, the three chapters of the film were designed to imitate different film stocks. The first chapter emulated the Fuji film stock to intensify the cast's skin tones. The second chapter imitated the Agfa film stock, which added cyan to the images, while the third chapter used a modified Kodak film stock.