Shirley MacLaine has signed on to star in the Sue Kramer-directed indie feature The Locals, which Alan Arkin and Vera Farmiga are in talks to also join.

The film is a contemporary take on the "Romeo and Juliet" tale told with a Jewish/Italian twist. Sue Kramer wrote the script.

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

Production begins in the Bronx later this fall.