Showtime has handed out a 20 episode straight-to-series order to Purity, an adaptation of the recently published Jonathan Franzen novel which hails from Todd Field, Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, David Hare and Jonathan Franzen, TVWise has learned.
In what is his first major U.S. TV role, and part of a continuing trend of movie stars no longer shunning the medium, former James Bond star Daniel Craig has signed on to executive produce and star in the drama, which is envisioned as a limited series that will air in two distinct ten episode batches.
Purity is described as a morally complex story of youthful idealism, extreme loyalty and cold-blooded murder. The novel is populated by characters both hungry for the truth and desperate to hide it. From STASI offspring to Oakland anarchists, it tracks the characters’ landscapes as varied as East Berlin, the Bolivian jungle, East Harlem walk-ups, and the California Redwoods. Purity is at once supremely ambitious in scope and intensely intimate in its treatment of character – a decades-spanning tragicomedy that builds to a contemporary climax.
“Jonathan Franzen’s Purity is an epic American novel that pulses with the energy of a psychological thriller. I whipped through it in a week,” said Showtime President David Nevins. “His gripping and timely story has attracted a powerhouse team – Todd Field, Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, David Hare, along with Franzen himself, and the brilliant Daniel Craig who is perfectly cast as the charismatic, mysterious ‘Andreas Wolf.’ Put it all together and Purity promises to be the kind of taut, long-form, serialized storytelling that is the best of premium television, and is precisely what we at Showtime aspire to deliver.”
Little Children scribe Todd Field will direct all twenty episodes of Purity and will also pen the scripts alongside original novelist Jonathan Franzen and David Hare. Field will also executive produce alongside Daniel Craig, Jonathan Franzen, David Hare and Eli Bush. Veteran producer Scott Rudin, who previously worked with Craig on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, will also serve as an executive producer. Production on the series is expected to commence in 2017. Sky Atlantic holds the UK rights to Purity owing to their output deal with Showtime.
The novel, which was only published this past September, quickly became a best-seller and caught the eye of veteran producer Scott Rudin. Before long the core team of Craig, Rudin and Field came together and after initially being envisioned as a feature the project was taken out to cable and internet networks a couple of months ago. Showtime showed early interest, offering the twenty episode order the producers were keen on securing.
With the official green-light, Purity joins a strong roster of dramas at Showtime; including flagship series Homeland (which is close to being renewed for a seventh and eighth season), period drama Masters Of Sex, the Liev Schreiber starrer Ray Donovan and supernatural series Penny Dreadful. The network is also deep in development on a limited series about the Cuban Missile Crisis, which is based on James Blight’s book The Armageddon Letters; and they are also prepping their Twin Peaks limited series for an early 2017 premiere.