Variety reports that Screen Gems is planning a hip-hop musical re-imagining of Jane Austen's classic novel, Emma, from a screenplay by Tyger Williams. Chris Bender and J.C. Spink will be producing via their Benderspink shingle. Screen Gems head Clint Culpepper says he got the idea from watching Lil Mama's Lipgloss music video. Retitled Emme, It will take place in, surprise, an inner-city high school and will revolve around a stepbrother and sister. There will be 15 song and dance numbers.
Re-imaginings are all well and good, and certainly Austen is made over in all sorts of ways: Bride and Prejudice redid Pride and Prejudice as a Bollywood musical, and Bridget Jones was essentially a version set in modern London. I wince only because these dance movies tend to be rather disposable, and Clueless already updated the story so well. Culpepper disagrees, though: "Now it's urban. This is the way it should be reimagined in the new millennium."
I am having a blast thinking of what could be next. Sense and Sensibility as glam rock/pop a'la Moulin Rouge? Or maybe country, given the isolation of the Dashwood sisters. Northanger Abbey should be Goth rock for sure. And an indie rock Persuasion.
I don't think Jane Austen would be spinning in her grave, though. She's too cool for that. But I doubt she would have ever sold the film rights.