Focus Features has signed a two-year first-look deal with Sam Mendes and his Neal Street Prods., the company the director partners with Pippa Harris and Caro Newling, according to Variety.

The deal includes the acquisition of two projects that could be potential directing vehicles for Mendes.

Mendes, Harris and Newling are producing Butcher's Crossing, an epic adventure based on the 1960 revisionist Western novel by John Williams.

Set in 1870s America, the pic focuses on a man who forsakes his Harvard education to move to the small Kansas town of Butcher's Crossing. There, he joins the hunt for one of the last great buffalo herds.

Focus will also develop Middlemarch, an adaptation of the George Eliot novel about changing fortunes in a provincial English community in the early 1830s. A script is in by Andrew Davies.

"The range of Sam's interests and skills as a filmmaker is limitless, and he is a magnet for top talent in front of and behind the camera," said Focus CEO James Schamus.

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