Barry Jenkins To Direct Untitled Alvin Ailey Biopic

The MOONLIGHT director has found his next project.

Thank goodness for a slow news day or we might've missed what could very well be the most exciting development of the day: Barry Jenkins, director of 2017 Oscar-winner Moonlight and last year's If Beale Street Could Talk, has reportedly found his next project. According to Deadline, Jenkins has signed on to direct an untitled film about the life of Alvin Ailey for Fox Searchlight. For those unfamiliar, Ailey is one of the most influential choreographers of the 20th century, and the founder of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey School in New York. Inspired by his mentor, Lester Horton, Ailey formed his own school in 1958, drawing a diverse company of dancers with a variety of styles and techniques. Ailey died in 1989 at the age of 58; the choreographer had lived a largely closeted life for years, and asked that his HIV/AIDS diagnosis remain hidden at the time of his death.

Julian Breece, whose script credits include Ava DuVernay's When They See Us, is writing the screenplay for the untitled Ailey film based on Jennifer Dunning's biography Alvin Ailey: A Life in Dance. Fox Searchlight has obtained full cooperation from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which has also granted the studio rights to Ailey's choreography. Artistic directors Robert Battle and Judith Jamison will be closely collaborating with production to ensure Jenkins' film does Ailey's work justice. In addition to the untitled Ailey project, Jenkins is also working on The Underground Railroad limited series for Amazon and recently scripted Twelve, a feature adaptation of the acclaimed documentary 12 O'Clock Boys.