EXCLUSIVE: Shirley MacLaine is set to star and Alan Arkin and Vera Farmiga are negotiating to star in the Sue Kramer-directed indie feature The Locals. The film puts a contemporary spin on the Romeo and Juliet tale by injecting a Jewish/Italian twist. Kramer wrote the script. eOne Entertainment is selling foreign territories, and production starts in the Bronx later this fall.

“These two cultures have so much in common,” Kramer said. “Love of gab, love of food, they talk with their hands, and they feed you with guilt.”

The film will be produced by Grow Pictures’ Jill Footlick, Curious Pictures’ Marina Grasic and Kramer through her Bella Films banner. Curious is co-financing with private-equity partners and UAS. John Hadity will be exec producer alongside Movie Package Company’s Shaun Redick and Ray Mansfield. Kramer is repped by WME and Brillstein, MacLaine and Arkin by ICM, and Farmiga by CAA.