After the Oscars upset victory that everyone was talking about, it would seem as though director Barry Jenkins and the Moonlight cast might have almost every studio in Hollywood breaking down their door. There has been no movie quite like Moonlight in recent memory, and while the LGBTQ community celebrates the film's much-deserved win, a look at what lies beyond #Moonlight for the cast and the director is in order.
Barry Jenkins, Director
The director may have been momentarily stunned when he realized that his film, and not La La Land, had picked up Best Picture honors at the Academy Awards show on February 26, but that doesn't mean he's not already planning for the future beyond Moonlight, which is only his second feature film.
In addition to directing an episode of the Netflix episode Dear White People, a series based on the film of the same name, Jenkins has just been announced as attached to a film called A Contract With God. The film is about Frimme Hersh, a Hasidic Jew who carves a contract with God in a stone tablet to commit to a life of good deeds.
Mahershala Ali, 'Juan'
Ali made history February 26 by becoming the first Muslim actor to receive an award in a major category — in this case, Best Supporting Actor — at the Oscars. His nuanced, moving portrayal of Juan in Moonlight scored the actor much critical acclaim throughout the awards season. Initially, Jenkins had been reluctant to cast Ali due to his role as Remy Danton in House Of Cards. Adele Romanski, one of the producers of Moonlight, had recommended Ali for the role, having worked with him previously on one of her independent films, Kicks.
In addition to his work on House Of Cards and Luke Cage, Ali's work can be seen in Hidden Figures, where he plays Jim Johnson; the 2017 film Roxanne Roxanne, where he will play Cross; and in 2018's Alita: Battle Angel, a science fiction movie based on Yukito Kishiro's Battle Angel Alita manga. Production on the film has been delayed a number of times as a result of James Cameron's work on Avatar sequels.
Janelle Monáe, 'Teresa'
Janelle Monáe has certainly been making herself known as an actress of late. Not only did she appear in the Oscar-winning Moonlight, she was also in the critically acclaimed Hidden Figures as one of the three African American women who helped launch John Glenn into space and ensure his safe arrival back to Earth.
As Teresa, Monáe is tough — no surprise, given she's Juan's girlfriend, and Juan is a drug dealer — but very tender, especially when it comes to Chiron. There appears to be nothing on the horizon for Monáe, acting wise, but given how busy she tends to be with her music — and lately with her acting — it shouldn't take too long before Monáe's name is back in the spotlight.
Naomie Harris, 'Paula'
As the initially hardworking single mother who later turns to crack as a way to cope with the challenges that life poses in Liberty Square, Harris turns in an outstanding performance as Chiron's much-troubled mother. Having been granted the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2017's New Year's honors was only the beginning for the hardworking actress. In addition to appearing with Will Smith in 2016's Collateral Beauty, she is slated to appear as Nisha in the 2018 version of the live-action Jungle Book, directed by Andy Serkis.
Alex R. Hibbert, 'Little'
Hibbert plays the role of the youngest Chiron, who goes by the nickname "Little." This is the version of Chiron that meets Juan, and gets some of the biggest advice of his young life. Juan is who teaches him how to swim and also teaches him that he needs to find his own path in life. Hibbert is heartbreakingly convincing as the hurt, wary Chiron who's been betrayed by the people who should care for him the most.
Hibbert has nothing on the go for the near future, though it's certain that after Moonlight, his will be a name we'll start hearing a great deal of.
Ashton Sanders, 'Chiron'
In addition to his current role as the teenage Chiron, Sanders is busy studying for a BFA in Acting at The Theater School at dePaul University. Sanders will also be picking up some acting work in Captive State, a 2018 science fiction movie that will examine what life is like in Chicago following an occupation by an extraterrestrial force. After his successful turn as the teenage Chiron, Sanders will surely be garnering greater attention.
Trevante Rhodes, 'Black'
As the fully mature Chiron, Trevante Rhodes has the ability to show just how much Chiron has evolved by the movie's third chapter, and it's a beautiful struggle between "hard" and "soft." Trevante Rhodes will have the opportunity to demonstrate further growth in several different movies in the near future — Burning Sands, which bows March 10, 2017 on Netflix; Song To Song, to be released March 17, 2017 by Broad Green Pictures; Smartass, which comes out October 1, 2017 and is released by Lost Lodge Productions; The Predator, the fourth movie in the Predator franchise, set to hit theaters February 9, 2018 and Horse Soldiers, which is slated to hit theaters likely sometime in 2018.
Jaden Piner, 'Kevin'
As the youngest version of Kevin, Piner brings an earnestness to the role of Chiron's closest friend that you might only see in real life. There's nothing on tap for this young actor, but give him a few years — he'll certainly be back.
Jharrel Jerome, 'Teen Kevin'
Jerome handles the subtle shifts and nuances of his and Chiron's fledgling relationship with sensitive and grace, for sure. His acting docket is filling in fast — he's got one television series, Mr. Mercedes, in pre-production; Monster, the film adaptation of the Walter Dean Myers novel of the same name where he'll play Osvaldo, due out in 2017; and First Match, where he will play Omari, and that's due out in 2018.
André Holland, 'Kevin'
It would be all too easy, as the adult Kevin, to be dismissive of Black's reappearance in his life, but Holland's portrayal of the closest friend that Chiron has ever had is one of the most moving of the film. His talents are clearly being recognized, given how busy he has been of late. He's next slated to appear as Principal Jenkins in the film adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time.
More To Come For 'Moonlight' Stars
The moving, nuanced hit that is Moonlight has left its stars reeling at the impact the film has had for so many. To be sure, the stars of this critically acclaimed film will most definitely be hitting movie screens for some time to come.
Watch the video below to learn about what made Moonlight such an impactful film and keep watching more original content over at Movie Pilot Video.
Who are you most excited to see move forward in their acting career from the Moonlight cast?