Billy Porter is set to play James Baldwin in a feature based on the life of the legendary novelist, essayist and activist for Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group Motion Pictures.

Porter and Dan McCabe will pen the script for the theatrical feature based on David Leeming’s 1994 book James Baldwin: A Biography. Broadway-trained Porter is a longtime devotee of Baldwin, having quoted from the legendary author and civil rights campaigner during his 2019 Emmy-winning acceptance speech.

The deep dive into Baldwin’s life and struggles represents the culmination of a long-held creative ambition for the Emmy-, Tony- and Grammy Award-winning performer, who is one Oscar short of an EGOT. 

Born in Harlem in 1924, Baldwin was a gay African American writer and civil rights activist who spent much of his life outside the U.S. owing to the racism of his youth, and where he wrote extensively about Black identity, activism, sexuality and race relations.

His best-known books, including Go Tell It on the Mountain, Notes of a Native Son, Another Country and The Fire Next Time, have been turned into or inspired movies, including Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk and Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro documentary.

Featured Image: Billy Porter (left) and James Baldwin CINDY ORD/GETTY IMAGES; JENKINS/GETTY IMAGES

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