Pose star Billy Porter is set to play American novelist, critic, and civil rights activist James Baldwin in a new biopic. Alongside co-writer Dan McCabe, Porter will also co-produce the film with Byron Allen’s Media Group Pictures.
The untitled biopic will be based on the 1994 book James Baldwin: A Biography by David Leeming, who was a friend and assistant to Baldwin for 25 years. Born in Harlem in 1924, Baldwin was a significant literary figure whose works spanned theater, poetry, essays, and novels, and explored the experience of being a gay Black man in the segregated United States. He was also an influential voice in the civil rights movement.
In a statement, Porter said, “I stand on James Baldwin’s shoulders, and I intend to expand his legacy for generations to come.” This project has been a long-held ambition for Porter, who has previously expressed admiration for the writer and activist.
The film’s executive producers will be Byron Allen’s Media Group Motion Pictures, Carolyn Folks, Jennifer Lucas, Matthew Signer, and Chris Charalambous, with D.J. Gugenheim of Incognegro Productions also serving as a producer.
Porter, who won an Emmy for his role in Pose and a Tony for producing A Strange Loop, recently made his directorial debut with the high school coming-of-age film Anything’s Possible. He is set to direct the queer teen comedy To Be Real from Gabrielle Union’s I’ll Have Another Productions.
The Baldwin biopic is sure to be a significant milestone in Porter’s career, and with his talent for storytelling and activism, it is sure to be a powerful tribute to a literary icon.