May 07, 2002 01:00 PM

Jennifer Lopez, 31, who opens in the movie thriller “Enough” on May 24, will both star in and produce the fiery — and tragic — tale of “Carmen” for Universal, reports Variety. The movie will be an update of Prosper Merimee’s 19th century short story that in 1875 became the classic George Bizet opera, about a gypsy temptress and the Spanish soldier who becomes obsessed with her. Screenwriter Craig Pearce, who co-wrote “Moulin Rouge,” is researching the project in New York, Havana, Miami and Madrid, says the trade paper. Though the opera is a staple in repertory companies around the world, the sultry heroine has also long intrigued Hollywood. Rita Hayworth played her in a 1948 non-singing version, “The Loves of Carmen,” in which she lured her soldier (Glenn Ford) into a life of banditry, while in 1954, Dorothy Dandridge played the siren in “Carmen Jones,” an all-singing update with the Bizet music retained but with his lyrics substituted for those by Oscar Hammerstein II (“The Sound of Music”). Harry Belafonte played her doomed lover. In May 2001, Destiny’s Child’s Beyonce Knowles, 20, played the title role in an updated version of “Carmen” on MTV, which the network dubbed “a hip-hopera.” So far, no starting date or costar has been announced in connection with J.Lo’s take on the story.

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