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Shirley Maclaine, Alan Arkin & Vera Farmiga Are 'The Locals' In Italian/Jewish Romeo & Juliet Riff

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com September 12, 2011 at 4:45AM

For never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo. It's not surprising that William Shakespeare's tale of star-crossed lovers has provided the inspiration for dozens of films over the years, but there seems to be something in the water at the moment in particular: Disney had a surprise hit at the start of the year with their (very loose) animated take, "Gnomeo & Juliet," while Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth are gearing up for a more faithful version, while Keira Knightley and Lily Collins are supposedly competing for the lead in "Rosaline," which will focus on the titular girl, who Romeo is in love with before he gets all flustered by Juliet.
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For never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo. It's not surprising that William Shakespeare's tale of star-crossed lovers has provided the inspiration for dozens of films over the years, but there seems to be something in the water at the moment in particular: Disney had a surprise hit at the start of the year with their (very loose) animated take, "Gnomeo & Juliet," while Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth are gearing up for a more faithful version, while Keira Knightley and Lily Collins are supposedly competing for the lead in "Rosaline," which will focus on the titular girl, who Romeo is in love with before he gets all flustered by Juliet.

Now we've got one more to come, although it sounds a little more... left-field than some of the others that are in the works. Deadline report that a new film entitled "The Locals" is currently gearing up to shoot, one described as giving 'a Jewish/Italian twist' to Shakespeare's tale, and it looks to have drawn in an impressive cast; veteran Shirley MacLaine is signed on, while Alan Arkin and Vera Farmiga are both said to be in negotiations to join her.

Sue Kramer, who was behind the Heather Graham rom-com "Gray Matters," has written the script and will direct, and comments on her take "These two cultures have so much in common. Love of gab, love of good, they talk with their hands, and they feed you with guilt." It sounds like it'll come closer to "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"-style cultural stereotyping comedy than heart-rending tragedy, but we suppose you never know. Filming will get underway in the Bronx in the fall.

This article is related to: Actresses, Actors, Films, Alan Arkin, Shirley MacLaine, Vera Farmiga, The Locals


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