Kirsten Dunst: Kevin Winter/Getty Images/NewsCom
Gary Susman
May 21, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

He sees hot people. ”Signs” writer/director M. Night Shyamalan is going back to rural Pennsylvania for his next chiller, but this time, he hopes to bring some top young stars. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Kirsten Dunst, Ashton Kutcher, and ”Signs”’ Joaquin Phoenix are in talks to star in ”The Woods,” which will be about a community terrified by scary creatures living in the surrounding forest.

Shyamalan told the Reporter that the film would be ”a very romantic movie,” and a period piece, set in 1897. ”The story is very literary and elegant but still terrifying,” he said. ”The Woods” marks the first in Shyamalan’s new two-picture deal with Disney, the studio behind ”Signs,” ”Unbreakable,” and ”The Sixth Sense.” Shooting begins in October, with a release planned for summer 2004.

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