Shonda Rhimes Lands Deal To Adapt Romeo & Juliet

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ABC is buying yet another show from Shondaland, Shonda Rhimes’s production company, featuring a post-double-suicide Verona as its backdrop.

Scandal producer Heather Mitchell will helm Still Star-Crossed, an adaptation of the same-name 2013 YA novel from Melinda Taub. Still Star-Crossed explores the aftermath of Romeo and Juliet’s families — the Montagues and the Capulets — following the pair meeting their tragic end. Mitchell is set to executive produce and write. Colleagues Rhimes and Betsy Beers join as producers.

No word yet on specifics, but Mitchell’s novel features Prince Escalus seeking to end the blood feud through marriage. That marriage is set to take place between Rosaline (Capulet) and Benvolio (Montague), but the pair vow to end the violence without getting hitched. Meanwhile, Lady Capulet grooms Paris — who lived through the events of Romeo and Juliet — to amass an army to dethrone the prince. Hmm, sex, violence, intrigue, evil, the fate of a city hanging in the balance? If that doesn’t sound like a winner in the hands of Shonda Rhimes, we’re not sure what does.

Still Star-Crossed
joins several Shondaland shows in ABC’s development pipeline. The others are The Catch, about a female fraud investigator uncovering her fiancé's crimes; Splitsville, a divorce comedy; an untitled drama about nuns; and another medical drama. Which raises the question: At this point, does Shonda even need ABC? It feels like the network will greenlight almost anything she draws up. Not that we’re complaining. Rhimes consistently produces some of the most well-written, engaging, and buzzworthy hours on television. So her continued success is a huge win for fans of good TV as well as fans of Shakespeare.

Oh, and we would be remiss to not mention that Romeo and Juliet isn’t a love story: It’s a cautionary tale about the dangers of teenage infatuation.