Spanish director Enrique Gabriel (Fading Memories) has signed on to direct ambitious English-language project The Seagull.

The project, billed as a "Mediterranean adaptation" of the classic Chekhov play, is in development at Barcelona-based start-up TSP. World rights excluding Spain have pre-sold to LA-based Independent Artists (IA) as part of a five-year mutual first-look deal that TSP and IA signed last year at Cannes.

Budgeted at up to $12m, Seagull is scheduled for a 2002 shoot. TSP producers Eva Baro and Antoni Sole co-wrote the script, which is currently in rewrite stages. Casting is yet to be announced, although high profile talent linked to the project at various stages has included Ethan Hawke, Catherine McCormack, Julie Christie, Paco Rabal and Aitana Sanchez-Gijon.

Gabriel has directed three feature films: Fading Memories (Las Huellas Borradas), which won three top awards at the 1999 Malaga film festival including best film and best director, En La Puta Calle (1998) and Krapatchouk (1992). He got his start in cinema as second assistant director in Spain on Warren Beatty's Reds.