Back in the 1980s is when hip-hop really started its rise, and that is the period in which director Spike Lee is setting Prince of Cats, his version of probably Shakespeare’s most popular play, Romeo and Juliet. But not only his, since Lee is going to use the version set in a graphic novel written and illustrated by Ron Wimberly. Lee will actually write the script in collaboration with Wimberly and Selwyn Seyfu Hinds.
As Hollywood Reporter (HR) writes, “the project is described as an ’80s-set hip-hop take on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, with the tragic star-crossed love story seen through the eyes of Tybalt, Juliet’s angry and duel-loving cousin.” The film is to center on “Tybalt and his Capulet brothers, who navigate ‘Da People’s Republic of Brooklyn’, where underground sword dueling — including katanas — with the rival Montagues blossoms into a vibrant world. That world includes hip-hop essentials such as DJing, emceeing, breakdancing and graffiti.”
Selwyn Seyfu Hinds was at one-time editor-in-chief of The Source magazine so he certainly has extensive knowledge of the hip-hop scene. He also wrote the initial script for the adaptation of the graphic novel that originated from Vertigo and was then reissued by Image Comics.
HR also notes that Janet and Kate Zucker of Zucker Productions will produce Prince of Cats, with Legendary’s Jon Silk and Ali Mendes overseeing for the company. The magazine also adds that Knives Out actor Lakeith Stanfield was initially supposed to star, but now is not connected with the project anymore.