How many times can Hollywood re-adapt William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet? Sure, the story itself is timeless and successfully weaving drama around two star-crossed lovers is simple, but earlier this year we had a movie in which the Bard's play was reenacted with garden gnomes. So what will be the next on-screen representation of the Capulets and Montagues? Why, Jews and Italians, of course!

Deadline has learned that Vera Farmiga and Alan Arkin are both in talks and Shirley MacLaine is attached to The Locals, a new adaptation of Romeo and Juliet with a "Jewish/Italian twist." Sue Kramer, who last wrote and directed the Heather Graham/Bridget Moynahan/Tom Cavenagh comedy Gray Matters in 2006, is both helming and scripting the project. When explaining why the two groups should work together in the film, Kramer said, "These two cultures have so much in common: love of gab, love of food, they talk with their hands, and they feed you with guilt." Production will begin later this year in the Bronx.

Here's the problem with this project: Shakespeare never explained why the Capulets hated the Montagues and vice versa. If you're mirroring that concept, how do you prevent all of your characters from coming across as either anti-Semitic or anti-Italian? While it can be explained that the parents want their children to marry within their own cultures, that's still a skinny tightrope to get across. Let's just hope that this project can achieve more than just being two hours of intensified stereotypes.

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