Hip hop, katanas, and Shakespeare: Spike Lee’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’ coming soon

Franco Zeffirelli brought the timeless tragedy, Romeo & Juliet, to the screen in 1968. Our own Baz Luhrmann blessed us with his unique, soundtrack-heavy adaptation in 1996. But hold onto your hats because very soon we will have a Spike Lee take on the Shakespeare classic. Well… more or less.

The adaptation is of the contemporary classic Prince of Cats, a graphic novel written and illustrated by Ron Wimberly. This particular story is notable for taking the perspective of the character Tybalt; Juliet’s cousin, Capulet ringleader and rival of Romeo and the Montague clan. The film will be set in 1980s Brooklyn and will have a specifically hip-hop edge. 

spike lee romeo & Juliet

Wherefore art thou, Tybalt? Star-crossed lovers Romeo & Juliet will take the back seat in an upcoming Spike Lee joint.

Legendary Entertainment had won the filming rights to the project back in July of 2018, but this week it was confirmed that acclaimed Oscar-winning writer/director Spike Lee will be at the wheel. He is already set to rewrite the script with Wimberly and Welwyn Seyfu Hinds, a screenwriter, music scribe and former editor-in-chief of iconic US hip hop magazine, The Source.

Embellishments to the Shakespeare source material, originally set around the 1500s, will include sword duelling (with katanas!) DJing, MCing, breakdancing, and graffiti art. Coming off the back off his 2018 true crime knockout BlacKkKlansman, fans of Spike Lee should expect yet another fantastic, challenging feature to an already groundbreaking career.