Mendes teams with Winfrey on film

Focus Features has teamed with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Prods. and Sam Mendes’ Neal Street Prods. to mount a feature adaptation of “Netherland,” the Joseph O’Neill novel that Harpo optioned last year when it was published.

Christopher Hampton will write the script for a film that Mendes is eyeing as a potential directing vehicle.

Mendes and his Neal Street partner Pippa Harris will produce with Harpo’s Winfrey and Kate Forte. Neal Street has a first-look deal with Focus.

“Netherland” won O’Neill the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The novel is set in New York City, where a lonely Dutch expatriate becomes drawn to the sport of cricket and forms an unlikely bond to immigrant culture.

Hampton previously worked with Focus Features on “Atonement,” earning an Oscar nomination for his script.

“We’re so glad to have Christopher join our creative partnership with Harpo and Neal Street,” Focus Features CEO James Schamus said. “This project’s emotional power has resonated with us all.”

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