Destiny’s Child frontwoman Beyoncé Knowles has been tapped to star in the upcoming made-for-TV movie “Carmen: A Hip Hopera,” a modern retelling of the 19th century opera “Carmen,” by French composer Georges Bizet.
Knowles becomes the latest music performer to land a role in the joint production between MTV and New Line Television. She joins previously named musicians Mos Def, Lil’ Bow Wow, Jermaine Dupri and Rah Digga in the cast. Other actors set to appear in “Carmen” include Mekhi Phifer, Troy Winbrush, Sam Sarpong, Regan Gomez-Peterson and Joy Bryant.
Rapper Da Brat will narrate the “Carmen” update, which is being directed by Robert Townsend, who has previously helmed such big-screen films as “B*A*P*S,” “The Five Heartbeats” and “Hollywood Shuffle,” as well as the recent TV films “Livin’ for Love: The Natalie Cole Story” and the “Little Richard” biopic.
According to production notes, “Carmen: A Hip Hopera” will be set in Philadelphia and focus on the tragic romance between police Sgt. Derrick Hill (played by Phifer) and Carmen Brown (played by Knowles), who is described as “the most beautiful woman in the world.”
This isn’t the first time the 1875 opera has been updated with a black cast. Oscar Hammerstein II wrote English lyrics to accompany Bizet’s music for “Carmen Jones,” a musical that opened on Broadway in 1943 and was made into a 1954 movie starring Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte.
Knowles should have plenty of free time to complete her part in “Carmen,” as Destiny’s Child already have completed most of the tracks set for their third album, Survivor, due in April (see “Destiny’s Child Use Turmoil To Fuel New LP” ).
“Carmen: A Hip Hopera” is slated to begin production immediately in Los Angeles and air on MTV in the spring. The show will also feature the cast performing original songs composed by Kip Collins and written by Sekani Williams.