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Barry Jenkins to direct Alvin Ailey biopic

Jenkins last helmed the Oscar-nominated James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

In a Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 file photo, Barry Jenkins accepts the award for best director for “If Beale Street Could Talk” at the 34th Film Independent Spirit Awards, in Santa Monica, California.
In a Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 file photo, Barry Jenkins accepts the award for best director for “If Beale Street Could Talk” at the 34th Film Independent Spirit Awards, in Santa Monica, California.
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

NEW YORK — Barry Jenkins will direct a film based on the life of choreographer Alvin Ailey.

A spokesperson for Fox Searchlight on Monday confirmed that the studio is developing the project, with the “Moonlight” filmmaker directing. Jenkins last helmed the Oscar-nominated James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

Raised in segregated rural Texas, Ailey became a pioneering choreographer, dancer and director who helped popularize modern dance. He died in 1989 at the age of 58 from AIDS-related complications. In 2014, President Barack Obama awarded him a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The film will be partly based on Jennifer Dunning’s biography “Alvin Ailey: A Life in Dance.” Searchlight last year began developing the film after securing the rights to Ailey’s choreography from the Ailey Organization.