Barry Jenkins to direct biopic about dance legend Alvin Ailey

Singer Alicia Keys is to produce the upcoming film with Susan Lewis.

Barry Jenkins is set to bring the life of choreographer Alvin Ailey to the big screen.

The Moonlight director has signed on to helm the as-yet-untitled production, which was first announced by executives at Fox Searchlight in March 2018.

Taking to Twitter on Monday to share his excitement over the film, Jenkins wrote, "Beyond proud and humbled to have the opportunity to bring Brother Ailey's life to the screen alongside (writer Julian Breece) @julianbreece and my partners at @WePastel, @foxsearchlight and the wonderful folks of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater."

According to editors at Deadline, the project will be based on Jennifer Dunning's 1996 book, Alvin Ailey: A Life in Dance, and will delve into the life of the African-American dance choreographer and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City and is often credited with popularising modern dance.

Singer Alicia Keys will produce the film with Susan Lewis under their AK Worldwide production banner, along with Judy Kinberg, Rachel Cohen and Jana Edelbaum from iDeal Partners. The producers will team with Robert Battle and Emerita Judith Jamison, artistic directors at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater too, with the biopic receiving approval from officials at The Ailey Organization.

Ailey joined The Horton Dance Company in 1953 at the age of 22 and made his debut in Revue Le Bal Caribe before going on to perform in several Hollywood films.

He formed his own group in 1958, with his dance style influenced by ballet, modern dance, jazz and African dance techniques.

Ailey died at the age of 58 in 1989, from HIV/AIDS, and in 2014, was selected by U.S. President Barack Obama as a posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

A release date for the film has yet to be announced.

Jenkins, who won an Oscar for 2016's Moonlight, most recently made Academy Award-winning drama If Beale Street Could Talk and is currently gearing up to direct episodes of TV series The Underground Railroad.

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