Spike Lee is to direct a version of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set in the 1980s New York hip-hop scene.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the BlacKkKlansman filmmaker has closed a deal to direct Prince of Cats, an adaptation of Ron Wimberly’s graphic novel.
The 2012 book tells Romeo and Juliet’s story through the eyes of her hot-headed cousin Tybalt and transports the story to a fictionalised version of 1980s Brooklyn.
The project has been in development since 2018, when it was to star Lakeith Stanfield, but the Knives Out actor has since dropped out of the movie. Lee will rewrite the script with Wimberly and former The Source editor Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, who wrote the original adapted screenplay. Casting details are yet to be announced.
In Prince of Cats, Tybalt and his Capulet brothers battle with their rival Montagues for control of Da People’s Republic of Brooklyn, where underground sword duelling has become a method of settling disputes, among youngsters obsessed with hip-hop, DJing and graffiti.
Lee’s last film, BlacKkKlansman, was nominated for six Academy Awards, and won for Best Adapted Screenplay, the 62-year-old’s first non-honorary Oscar. His follow-up project is Da 5 Bloods, a Vietnam War thriller starring Chadwick Boseman.
Prince of Cats returns Lee to his beloved Brooklyn, the setting of many of his movies, including She’s Gotta Have It, Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Crooklyn, and Clockers.
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