Alvin Ailey is finally getting his flowers, this time in the form of the silver screen treatment.
According to Deadline, Oscar-winning writer-director Barry Jenkins has signed on to direct an as-yet-titled film based on the life of the late, famed choreographer.
Ailey founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958 as a way to preserve the uniqueness of the Black American cultural experience and imbue modern dance heritage with it. He established the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center (now The Ailey School) in 1969 and formed the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble (now Ailey II) in 1974, becoming a pioneer of arts education programs benefiting underserved communities.
2019 year marks more than six decades since Ailey founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater — but it’s also the 30th anniversary of his death. It’s taken about this long for the full scope and impact of his art to receive its due beyond the stage. “His story gives people hope. It gives people perspective, not just on dance: it really touches your own life where you're looking at yourself [and] who you are as a human being,” Artistic Director of Ailey II Troy Powell told Out earlier this year. “His legacy is so profound.”
Fox Searchlight will distribute and produce the film after making a deal last year with the Dance Theater that granted full cooperation from the organization that controls the rights to Ailey’s choreography. The package also includes the rights to Jennifer Dunning’s seminal biography Alvin Ailey: A Life In Dance. The project is said to be in collaboration with Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle and Artistic Director Emerita, the legendary Judith Jamison.
The biopic is truly in great hands as Jenkins brought Tarell Alvin McCraney’s In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue to the screen in the form of Moonlight, and he adapted James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk. Julian Breece is writing the script for the Ailey film, and Judy Kinberg, Adele Romanski, Rachel Cohen, and Alicia Keys are producing.
There’s no word yet on when we can expect it, but they can take our money already!