Christopher Hampton is to return to directing. The Oscar-winningEnglish writer/filmmaker, who picked up a Special Jury prize in Cannesfor Carrington in 1995 and also won plaudits for his Atonementscreenplay, is now to write and direct White Chameleon.

The new project is being put together by UK producer Chris Curling'sZephyr Films and by Hampton's Ashenden Films. A sales agent will beappointed shortly.

Based on Hampton's autobiographical 1991 play, the film tells of a boygrowing up in Alexandria in Egypt in the 1950s, in the run up to theSuez Crisis. The storyline deals with how Hampton came to be teachingthe Egyptian Cross Channel swimming team their own national anthem,with his artistic and political education, and his pet chameleon.

Hampton's directing credits also include The Secret Agent and Imagining Argentina.

Meanwhile, another of Zephyr's projects The Last Station, starringHelen Mirren and Christopher Plummer and directed by Michael Hoffman,recently completed principal photography.

However, the film, sold here by The Little Film Company, is unlikelyto be ready in time for Berlin. Curling has suggested that The LastStation, about the last days of revered Russian author Leo Tolstoy, ismost likely to premiere at a festival in the autumn of 2009.