Billy Porter to Play James Baldwin in Upcoming Biopic | Playbill

Film & TV News Billy Porter to Play James Baldwin in Upcoming Biopic

Porter is co-writing the screenplay about the Black, gay writer and civil rights activist with Dan McCabe.

Billy Porter Meredith Truax

Billy Porter (Kinky BootsPose) will return to the big screen as James Baldwin in a feature about the Black, gay writer and civil rights activist. The Allen Media Group feature film will also feature a screenplay co-written by Porter and Dan McCabe based on the 1994 biography by David Leeming. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Porter said in a statement, “As a Black queer man on this planet with relative consciousness, I find myself, like James Baldwin said, ‘in a rage all the time.’ I am because James was. I stand on James Baldwin’s shoulders, and I intend to expand his legacy for generations to come."

It's a full-circle moment for Porter who has long admired Baldwin (he even quoted Baldwin when he accepted his 2019 Emmy Award for his performance in Pose.) Currently on tour for his latest music album, Porter has graced the silver screen in addition to starring in eight Broadway shows and co-producing A Strange Loop. The feature film may give Porter a shot at the coveted EGOT status that he has talked about pursuing in the past—Porter won a Tony for originating Lola in Kinky Boots and a Grammy Award for the musical's album.

READ: Billy Porter Reflects on Living With ‘No Limits’

Baldwin was born in Harlem in 1924 and became a famous author and civil rights activist. He wrote Blues for Mister Charlie and The Amen Corner which both premiered on Broadway. He also penned Go Tell It on the MountainNotes of a Native SonAnother Country, and The Fire Next Time

As a historical figure, Baldwin has been a subject of fascination on the stage. In the past year in New York City, two productions have explored the relationship between Baldwin and conservative pundit William F. Buckley, Jr. Elevator Repair Service's Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge played Off-Broadway's The Public Theater while american vicarious' Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley began a tour of the five boroughs.

Porter’s Incognegro Productions and Allen Media Group will co-produce the feature film with Allen Media Group Chairman and CEO Byron Allen, Carolyn Folks, Jennifer Lucas, Matthew Signer, and Chris Charalambous serving as executive producers.


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