Barry Jenkins has, for many, followed up Moonlight with a film as equally impressive in the form of If Beale Street Could Talk. From the reviews I have read and/or watched for this movie, one of the qualities that unites both Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk is the impressive cinematography.
James Laxton was the cinematographer for both films and, in an exclusive interview with Collider, Laxton had the chance to speak in-depth about If Beale Street Could Talk.
If Beale Street Could Talk
One of the things James Laxton discussed was the initial conversations he had with Barry Jenkins about If Beale Street Could Talk:
“So I guess I knew about Beale Street not long after Moonlight, in terms of when it was discussed. He wrote them at the same time, so being a close collaborator of Barry’s, I learned about Beale Street around the same time that I learned about Moonlight and then making Moonlight first, but this story and this movie adaptation was long coming.”
“That’s something I think is a good benefit of Barry and I, we get to hash out ideas over the course of months if not years of sharing thoughts and perspectives about a project long before we even get to the set.”
“So while we like to use natural light and work quickly, the basic vocabulary of films, and the more fleshed out concepts of what we apply on screen kind of comes from having conversations weeks, months, years back. So I learned about Beale Street somewhere around 2016 probably, 2015 maybe even.”
“And yeah I think the early conversations were just sort of poking at the surface of an idea of what the language of the film could be. Closer to when the production started, during pre-production I think we talked about sharing Mr. Baldwin’s written vocabulary—how he writes, his style of writing—to try and adapt that to the screen in terms of how do we move the camera.”