Sam Mendes is returning to the theatre.

The 'Revolutionary Road' director has agreed to direct a production of 'King Lear', which will star Simon Russell Beale in the title role, at London's prestigious National Theatre.

The last production headed up by Sam at the venue was 'Othello' in 1998, which also starred Simon, playing Iago.

The production is expected to be staged some time in 2012, though exact dates have yet to be confirmed.

A source told Daily Mail columnist Baz Bamigboye: "It will happen in spring or the autumn."

It is believed the theatre would prefer for the production to be staged in spring so the play could be part of the World Shakespeare Festival being organised by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Sam has more time available to work on the production, after it was revealed earlier this week his next project, the 23rd James Bond movie, has been shelved indefinitely.

The film's producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli claim the uncertain future of debt-ridden film studio MGM is halting the project, which will be Daniel Craig's third outing as the British spy.