Richard Stanley, the South African-born director controversially taken off New Line Cinema's The Island Of Doctor Moreau in 1996, is returning to the sci-fi genre of his auspicious 1990 debut Hardware.

Stanley is readying $9m futuristic action thriller In A Season Of Soft Rains for a shoot next year. Set in the UK after a revolution, the story follows an American assassin who comes to England disguised as a cricket player to assassinate the young Prince Richard, who is living in Wales in asylum.

Stanley, who wrote the script with Eski Thomas, is testing digital cameras at the end of this month, partly to see if they can cope with the numerous night scenes that the project requires. "There will be a lot of computer effects, which digital may lend itself it to," said producer Nick O'Hagan.

O'Hagan, based at the UK's Giant Films, is currently casting a US actor to play the assassin. Assuming financing comes together for a shoot early next year, the film will mark Stanley's most high-profile feature since he was ousted from Moreau only days into shooting.

Stanley's other credits include Dust Devil, while O'Hagan's credits include Julien Temple's London Film Festival title Pandaemonium.