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WIRE Buzz: Spike Lee katanas Romeo & Juliet; UFO doc beams down; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Prince of Cats comic cover

Directing icon Spike Lee is about to dive back into the familiar hip-hop infused world of 1980s Brooklyn for a katana-slashing, alternative-history take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, thanks to a new movie adaptation of Ronald Wimberly’s Prince of Cats graphic novel.

THR reports that Lee will direct the movie — his first since last year’s BlacKkKlansman — working from a script that Lee himself, along with Wimberly and screenwriter Selwyn Seyfu Hinds (the former editor-in-chief of The Source magazine) will adapt for the big screen. The same report indicates Atlanta and Death Note actor Lakeith Stanfield, originally attached to star, is no longer involved. There’s no early word on a release date or whom Lee will eye for casting — although we’ve got more than a few suggestions of our own.

Told from the point of view of Juliet’s Capulet cousin Tybalt, Prince of Cats unfolds in the gritty streets of Da People’s Republic of Brooklyn, “where underground sword dueling — including katanas — with the rival Montagues blossoms into a vibrant world” suffused with tons of ‘80s street culture beats including breakdancing, graffiti, DJ scratching, and more. Wimberly’s original Prince of Cats debuted in 2012 as a Vertigo graphic novel, before going out of print, getting picked up again by Image Comics, and finally catching the eye of Legendary Entertainment for the full Spike Lee treatment. 

If the truth is really out there, we may be reaching that fateful moment in history when at least a few privileged-information government types no longer want to cover it up — even if we’re not sure how much they really do know about UFOs.

Next summer, we’ll get the chance to see what at least some intelligence insiders have to say thanks to The Phenomenon, a UFO-embracing documentary movie directed by James Fox (SYFY’s Out of the Blue) and narrated by E.T. actor Peter Coyote, a prolific voiceover artist who’s likely familiar to anyone who’s watched their share of PBS documentaries over the years.

THR, which first reported the story, says the The Phenomenon covers 70 years’ worth of evidence from the “inescapable” point of view that “we are not alone,” and features “never before seen archival footage, and interviews with key eyewitnesses, experts and officials” including former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, former President Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, former New Mexico Gov. and U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, and more. 

The movie comes as the actual government appears to be embracing the idea that unexplained aerial sightings are overdue for a serious and systematic exploration, thanks to recent initiatives like the U.S. Navy’s new official guidelines for documenting encounters, as well as the declassification of the Department of Defense’s research papers on “anomalous aerospace threats.”

As for The Phenomenon (the movie — not the extraterrestrial object), it’ll be out in theaters in June of next year, with a digital release to follow in September.

As apocalyptic stories go, a mystery that starts with a cryptic warning to humanity’s unwitting future destroyers — and then works its way forward through the actual event — pretty much has us hooked from the get-go. Deadline reports that NBC has given the green light to just such a project, putting in an order for The Bunker from Julie Anne Robinson’s CannyLads production company. 

Written and executive produced by Joshua Fialkov (who fans may remember as the comic book writer that reportedly quit a gig with DC Comics over creative differences about the fate of Green Lantern John Stewart), The Bunker reportedly will adapt a story from Fialkov and aritst Joe Infurnari’s graphic novels of the same name.

Via the report, the potential TV series aims to explore the story of “a group of friends who discover a hidden bunker in the woods containing proof that in the future they will be responsible for a global apocalypse.” With their horrifying newfound knowledge as a starting point, the group “must decide if they can give up their hopes and dreams in order to save the world or follow their paths and doom us all.” 

Robinson reportedly will executive produce and direct the series. But with no early information about casting or a premiere date, let’s cross our fingers and hope the world sticks around long enough to catch The Bunker’s fateful debut episode.

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