VARIETY: Billy Porter to Star in James Baldwin Biopic

Billy Porter is preparing to portray the author and civil rights activist James Baldwin in an upcoming biopic.

He will also co-write the untitled movie with Dan McCabe, which will be adapted from the 1994 book “James Baldwin: A Biography” by David Leeming. An emeritus professor of English at the University of Connecticut, Leeming was well-versed in the world of Baldwin as his friend of 25 years as well as his assistant.

Porter says it has been a career-long dream to tell the story of Baldwin on film. Born in Harlem in 1924, Baldwin was a Black gay writer whose influential works include “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” “Notes of a Native Son” and “If Beale Street Could Talk.” In addition to writing, Baldwin fought for racial justice in the U.S. civil rights movement. In Leeming’s book, he’s described as a “complex, troubled, driven and brilliant man” who has a “gift for compassion and love.”

“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,” Porter said. “I stand on James Baldwin’s shoulders, and I intend to expand his legacy for generations to come.”

Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group Motion Pictures will executive produce the film with Carolyn Folks, Jennifer Lucas, Matthew Signer and Chris Charalambous. Billy Porter and D.J. Gugenheim of Incognegro Productions will serve as producers.

“We at Allen Media Group Motion Pictures are extremely passionate about sharing James Baldwin’s phenomenal story with the world,” said Allen, the founder, chairman and CEO of Allen Media Group. “Billy Porter and Dan McCabe’s talent and commitment to amplifying James Baldwin’s legacy and contributions are invaluable and unmatched for this unique and epic story.”

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