OSCAR-winning director Sam Mendes is in talks to direct upcoming film THE KITE RUNNER, after helping producers find a scriptwriter for the project.

The American Beauty director, 38, is currently developing the film - based on KHALED HOSSEINI's acclaimed novel - with business partners CARO NEWLING and PIPPA HARRIS. And having already convinced British television writer PAUL ABBOTT to pen the script, Mendes now has to decide whether he will make it his next directorial project.

The plot follows an Afghani emigre who leaves his Californian home to seek out an old schoolfriend in his native country, and to right a wrong.

If Mendes does agree to helm the project, filming won't begin until at least the middle of next year (04) - the director is currently spending quality time with wife Kate Winslet as they prepare for the birth of their first child together in January.

21/11/2003 13:59