Vera Farmiga and Alan Arkin Checking Out 'The Locals'

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It's time for another stab at that old tale of star-crossed lovers and squabbling families by way of New York City. No, not another "West Side Story."  Instead of singing teen gangs, "The Locals" will take a crack at updating the story of Romeo and Juliet "by injecting a Jewish/Italian twist."

So, kind of like "West Side Story" but with more guilt and food and less singing and knife fights.

Shirley MacLaine has already signed on to star in "The Locals," and Alan Arkin and Vera Farmiga are currently in talks. One might imagine MacLaine as the boisterous matriarch of one family and Arkin as the squabbly, perhaps heroin-addicted grandfather of the other, but where does Farmiga fit into this? Only time will tell. Farmiga has an especially busy schedule lately, and "The Locals" is set to start production soon in the boogie down Bronx.

Writer/director Sue Kramer's first film, "Gray Matters," is also an indie about a close-knit family, but a rather different one. Heather Graham and Tom Cavanagh star as Gray and Charlie, a brother and sister who are way too close.

Not like in that special icky way, but definitely in a way that cramps their ability to meet people of the opposite sex who aren't totally weirded out by BFF sibs. They find a girl for Charlie, but things start getting complicated when Gray gets all confused and after-school-special-y about it.

Sounds kooky but kinda cute, right? So let's look forward to "The Locals" and yet more cool news coming out of the Toronto Film Festival.