Austen's classic novel inspires hip-hop musical

Screen Gems is planning a hip-hop musical reimagining of Jane Austen’s classic novel “Emma” for the bigscreen.

Chris Bender and J.C. Spink will produce via their Benderspink banner.

Contemporary-set tale, which takes place at an inner-city high school, revolves around a stepbrother and stepsister. Film will include at least 15 song and dance numbers. Tyger Williams penned the screenplay.

Screen Gems topper Clint Culpepper said he came up with the idea for “Emma,” which will likely be redubbed “Emme,” after watching the musicvideo “Lipgloss” by Lil Mama.

Austen’s novel also inspired the Alicia Silverstone starrer “Clueless,” which was set in a suburban Southern California high school.

“Now it’s urban,” Culpepper said. “This is the way it should be reimagined in the new millennium.”

Scott Strauss and Shannon Gaulding will oversee the project for the studio.

Screen Gems scored box office hits with two previous hip-hop films: 2007’s “Stomp the Yard” and 2004’s “You Got Served.” The genre division of Sony Pictures Entertainment will bow “Prom Night,” starring Brittany Snow, on Friday. Upcoming films also include “Lakeview Terrace,” “Obsessed,” and the heist thriller “Armored.”

“Emma” marks the fifth project Benderspink has set up post-WGA strike. The shingle also is producing “Urge” for Barbarian Films, “Shell Game” for Columbia Pictures and Lakeshore, “Leap Year” for Spyglass and “Cutlass Island” for New Regency.

Williams’ credits include “Menace II Society.”


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