Robert De Niro has signed up to star in 'Dark Fields'.

The 'Righteous Kill' actor will appear opposite 'The Hangover' star Bradley Cooper in the new thriller, which is being directed by 'The Illusionist' filmmaker Neil Burger.

The movie follows Cooper's character, a struggling writer whose fortunes change when he starts taking a drug that makes him more intelligent and boosts his success.

After the drugs start making the author suffer blackouts and other severe side effects, he begins to realise people are out to get him - including a genius financial expert, played by De Niro.

Although no other casting for the movie - which is based on a novel by Alan Glynn - has been confirmed, 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin' actress Elizabeth Banks is strongly rumoured to be playing the female lead.

Shooting is scheduled to begin in Philadelphia in May.

As well as 'Dark Fields', De Niro is expected to team up with director Martin Scorsese on a gangster movie later this year.

The filmmaker - who worked with the 66-year-old actor on eight films between 1973 and 1995, including Mafia dramas 'Goodfellas' and 'Casino' - recently said: "Bob De Niro and I are talking about something that has to do with that world - there's no doubt about that."