After the successful collaboration with cult favourite author Hubert Selby Jr. on Fear X, Danish writer-director Nicolas Winding Refn is now turning to another scribe specialising in the seamier side of the American underbelly: Abel Ferrara's longtime screenwriting collaborator, Nicholas St. John.

Billy's People follows a idealistic and ambitious female undercover cop going to a small Midwestern town to investigate the mysterious disappearance of several people. She brings her nine year-old daughter with her to the town, where no one seems to pay attention to the missing people.

Refn wrote a elaborate treatment with scriptwriter Mikael Olsen, but is expected that St. John - whose credits include King Of New York - will turn in a first draft by September.

Refn's long-time collaborator Henrik Danstrup will produce the $6m movie as a Danish-UK co-production, which is expected to shoot in the US and Denmark from the summer 2004. Backers already include the Danish Film Institute and Nordisk Film, who have taken Scandinavian rights.