Actor and vocalist Billy Porter has been called upon to take on the role of late American writer, James Baldwin. The Pose star will give life to the story of the iconic novelist, playwright, poet and activist through Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group Motion Pictures.
Porter and Dan McCabe (George Wallace: Settin’ The Woods On Fire) are said to be the scriptwriters for the feature, with basis from David Leeming’s 1994 biography on Baldwin.
“As a Black queer man on this planet with relative consciousness, I find myself, like James Baldwin said, ‘in a rage all the time,'” Porter said in a statement via The Hollywood Reporter. “I am because James was. I stand on James Baldwin’s shoulders, and I intend to expand his legacy for generations to come.”
Porter, who is also Broadway-trained, has countlessly expressed his admiration for the Notes of A Native Son author. The 53-year-old even mentioned Baldwin during his 2019 Emmy award acceptance speech.
“I am so overwhelmed and I am so overjoyed to live long enough to see this day,” he said during his acceptance speech for Lead Actor In A Drama Series. “James Baldwin said, ‘It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.’ I have the right, you have the right, we all have the right!”
The almost EGOT status holder will help tell the story of Baldwin’s life-struggles as a gay man and Black writer.
“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,” said Byron Allen.
Baldwin was born in 1924 at the peak of the Black cultural Mecca in the New York borough. The Harlemite spent many years of the Renaissance advocating for matters most important to him and his community such as: Black identity, activism, sexuality and race relations.
Go Tell It on the Mountain, Notes of a Native Son, Another Country and The Fire Next Time, have been deemed Baldwin’s most notable works, some of which have inspired films such as Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk and the I Am Not Your Negro documentary by Raoul Peck.
Porter’s Incognegro Productions is set to co-produce the biopic in conjunction with Allen Media Group. Executive production credit goes to Allen, Carolyn Folks, Jennifer Lucas, Matthew Signer and Chris Charalambous.