How did this scene come to be?

Barry Jenkins: The scene is interesting to me because it’s like a turning point. These characters are essentially strangers to each other. And this scene is just after they’ve reconnected. Tarell Alvin McCraney’s original piece, “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” was kind of the starting point of this. Tarell wrote it as an undergrad at DePaul and passed it to me like a baton in a relay race.

He had this scene where Juan (Mahershala Ali) teaches Little (Alex Hibbert) some self-sustainability. Miami is surrounded by water. It’s always present. And I felt like there needed to be a moment of spiritual transference between these two characters. This idea of a swimming lesson seemed like the right place to do it.