In the 1996 film adaptation of the Shakespeare classic Romeo and Juliet, the director has exchanged the original setting of Verona, Italy, for a modern Verona Beach, California backdrop. The part of narrator throughout the tale is portrayed on a television screen, giving the viewer the idea that the tragic love story is unfolding on the local news. Contemporary references are used throughout the film to replace the somewhat archaic details of Shakespeareâ€˜s time. The filmâ€™s creators chose to stick as close to the storyline as they could while still maintaining the present day urban setting. In the opening scene, the Capulets and the Montagues face off at a gas station rather than the Italian market. The feuding familiesâ€™ wield 9mm handguns named â€œswords.â€ After the gas station brawl has come to an end, the prince, manifested here as the chief of police, dispatches his men to detain the two families responsible for this show of violence. These men show up in helicopters and police cars rather than on horseback. Romeo is talked into attending a costume party at the Capuletsâ€™ mansion after hearing about the gathering on the television. Shakespeare chose to inform the young poetic lover by an illiterate messenger. In true modern day California style, Romeo takes some unidentified drug from Mercutio. The drug comes in the form of a tablet with a red heart, a reference to the feeling of heartbreak Romeo had been bathed in after losing his former love. The Capuletsâ€™ luxurious mansion is equipped with a rather large aquarium, through which Romeo and Juliet first lay eyes on one another. In the original work, Romeo spotted Juliet across the room and asked a serving man about her. Sir Paris, the man to whom Julietâ€™s father wished to give her away to, was dressed as an astronaut rather than a knight. After leaving the party in a sports car, Romeo leaps out of the backseat and runs to the Capuletsâ€™ fenced, and apparently not so well secured, home.