"For his follow-up to “Moonlight,” Jenkins had been wavering between “Railroad” and an adaptation of the James Baldwin novel “If Beale Street Could Talk.” Jenkins already had the “Beale Street” screenplay in hand, having written it, along with “Moonlight,” during a focused six weeks spent in Brussels during the summer of 2013.
Making “Beale Street,” a love story set against the backdrop of racial injustice in 1970s Harlem, had a certain appeal to Jenkins, beyond what he calls the novel’s “huge relevance” to what’s happening in America right now.
“I could make that movie pretty quickly,” Jenkins told The Times in November, noting he wanted to avoid coming anywhere close to approaching the eight-year lag between “Moonlight” and his first movie, “Medicine for Melancholy.”
“‘The Underground Railroad’ is a massive job,” he added. “Right now, I’m thinking I want to do that over six or seven hours, and that will take a lot of time and consideration because it absolutely has to be done the right way. It’s a landmark work.”