Spike Lee is returning to his beloved Brooklyn for his next project, a hip-hop-infused spin on Romeo & Juliet titled Prince of Cats, THR reports. Brooklyn has served as the setting for a variety of Lee’s films, including She’s Gotta Have It, Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Crooklyn, He Got Game and Red Hook Summer. New York is obviously pretty far from Verona, Italy, much like Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 Cali-set Romeo + Juliet, and the new adaptation will be removed from the Shakespearean original temporally, as well; Prince of Cats will be set in the 1980s.
Legendary is developing the film, which is based on the graphic novel of the same name written and illustrated by Ron Wimberly. The comic originated from Vertigo and was then reissued by Image Comics.
Prince of Cats takes Romeo & Juliet to the ‘80s, where hip-hop is coming alive in a culture of DJing, emceeing, breakdancing and graffiti. The star-crossed love story will still be seen through the eyes of Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin with a penchant for violence. Tybalt and the rest of his Capulet brothers live in Da People’s Republic of Brooklyn, where they duel with Romeo’s brethren, the Montagues.
Selwyn Seyfu Hinds wrote the initial script, and has impressive writing credits that include time as editor-in-chief of The Source magazine, a hip-hop-focused publication, as well as an episode of Jordan Peele’s modernized The Twilight Zone. Lee is set to do a rewrite with Wimberly and Hinds.
There’s no news on casting as of yet: Lakeith Stanfield (Knives Out) was once slated to star, but is no longer attached to the project. Prince of Cats will be produced by Janet and Kat Zucker of Zucker Productions, and Legendary’s Jon Silk and Ali Mendes.
Lee won Best Adapted Screenplay for his last project, BlacKkKlansman, which also earned nominations for Best Director and Best Picture. He is currently in post-production on Da 5 Bloods, a thriller starring Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Paul Walter Hauser and Jonathan Majors.