Spike Lee Teases Prince of Cats Movie, How Coronavirus Disrupted Production

Spike Lee has become one of the most distinct and impactful directors working today, with a filmography that includes Do the Right Thing, BlacKkKlansman, and She's Gotta Have It. Lee is poised to bring his visionary direction to an adaptation of Prince of Cats, the graphic novel from Ronald Wimberly -- but it sounds like fans might have to wait a little bit longer for it to get off of the ground. Vanity Fair recently released a piece about the enduring effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the film and television industry, with many working in those spaces terrified to get back to work anytime soon. Lee spoke about how those delays are impacting Prince of Cats, which was initially poised to begin filming this summer -- but probably won't until a vaccine is widely available.

“It’s Romeo and Juliet during the age of hip-hop. It takes place in the People’s Republic of Brooklyn, New York. I was supposed to be shooting that this summer in New York,” Lee explained. “Not this summer…”

“They ain’t doing a thing until the vaccine,” Lee continued. “I know I’m not going to a movie theater. I know I’m not going to a Broadway show. I know I’m not going to Yankee Stadium... Corona is a bitch. Corona is not playing. You f-ck around you’re going to get killed, you’re going to die. I’m not ready to go.”

Lee, who has served as both a director and producer on a wide array of projects, argued that there isn't an immediate fix for a lot of problems that the film industry is going to have.

“How are you going to do a love scene anymore, or an intimate scene?" Lee questioned. "I mean, are you going to do a movie by remote, like Saturday Night Live?… I don’t know how you do that. So, we’re on pause now.”

Prince of Cats recontextualizes the Romeo & Juliet tale through the eyes of Tybalt, Juliet's angry and duel-loving cousin. Alongside his Capulet brothers, Tybalt will 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.

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The graphic novel was initially published by Vertigo Comics in 2012, before making its way over to Image Comics in 2016. The film adaptation was initially set to star Sorry to Bother You and Knives Out's Lakeith Stanfield, but he is no longer attached to the project.

What do you think of Spike Lee's recent comments surrounding Prince of Cats, and its production amid the COVID-19 pandemic? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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