Spike Lee Set to Direct ‘Prince of Cats,’ 1980s Hip-Hop Retelling of ‘Romeo & Juliet’

The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Spike Lee will direct the film Prince of Cats, an adaptation of the graphic novel written and illustrated by Ron Wimberly.

Prince of Cats is described as a hip-hop take on William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet set in 1980’s Brooklyn. The story will be told through the perspective of Juliet’s hot-headed cousin Tybalt, who navigates Da People’s Republic of Brooklyn with his Capulet brothers. Their crew will try and settle the score with their rival Montagues in underground sword battles.

Lee will work with Wimberly on retooling the script, which was written by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, who was once the editor-in-chief of The Source magazine. Hinds’ credits include penning an episode of Jordan Peele’s revival of The Twilight Zone, and serving as writer for the upcoming HBO series Who Fears Death, which is being executive produced by Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin.

When Legendary Entertainment won the bidding war to acquire the film rights to Prince of Cats last year, Lakeith Stanfield was slated to portray Tybalt, but he has since left the project.

THR reports that Spike’s work on BlacKkKlansman, for which he received his first Oscar for adapted screenplay, helped put him at the top of Legendary’s wish list of potential directors.

Lee is currently finishing Da 5 Bloods, a film about four African-American Vietnam vets who return to Vietnam, starring Chadwick Boseman, rising star Jonathan Majors, and Paul Walter Hauser, among others. Da 5 Bloods is being distributed by Netflix.

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