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Last Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Mendes to direct Middlemarch film
Sam Mendes
Sam Mendes won an Oscar for directing American Beauty
Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes has announced he plans to make the first big-screen version of the George Eliot novel Middlemarch.

The director, who is married to Kate Winslet, is best known for directing US blockbuster films such as American Beauty and Jarhead.

Andrew Davies, who created the 1994 Middlemarch mini-series for the BBC, is currently writing the script.

Mendes will start directing next year and roles have not yet been cast.

Speaking to trade newspaper Variety, Pippa Harris from Mendes' production company, Neal Street Productions, said: "Sam's first film was for an American studio, so he started off in a slightly different place than other British directors.

"But he's as determined to tell stories about England as he is about America."

Mendes describes his career and the decisions he has made as purely "circumstantial".

"I've just made the projects that happened to fall in my way," he said.

"My films so far have been about exploring these extraordinary other worlds, but now I'm moving into a phase when I'm coming home and able to direct work that's closer to me," he added.

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