Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn starts shooting his long-anticipated English-language debut Fear X today, with John Turturro signed up to star and backing from the UK's Moviehouse Entertainment.(March 11).

The cast includes US veteran James Remar, Canada's Deborah Kara Unger and Sweden's Jacqueline Ramel. Tom Sizemore signed up last year but had to be replaced when the shoot was pushed back for financing reasons.

Refn, who made his mark with his searing debut Pusher, wrote the original script with Last Exit To Brooklyn author Hubert Selby Jr. The story is set in a small Midwestern town in Wyoming, where a mall security guard played by Turturro finds his wife mysteriously murdered. He embarks on a bizarre investigation, obtaining information from the police that leads him to Montana in search of the supposed murderer.

"I was introduced to Selby's Last Exit To Brooklyn some seven years ago, and I was completely taken by it," Refn told Screen International. "His mix of brutality and poetry, love and pain, the whole emotional impact the story had on me, is just what I seek in any kind of art."

Moviehouse, the sales company formed last year by Gary Phillips and Mark Vennis, are co-financing via their credit line with the Royal Bank of Scotland. Egmont Entertainment holds Scandinavian distribution rights.

Henrik Danstrup, who collaborated with Refn on Pusher and his second film Bleeder, is producing with Refn's NWR. The $5m production shoots on location in Winnipeg, Canada, before moving to Nordisk Film's Risby studios near Copenhagen.

"This edgy thriller, starring the multi-talented John Turturro, is just the sort of independent film we are looking to bring to the marketplace," said Moviehouse's Vennis.

Adam Minns in London contributed to this report