After months of negotiations and deal-making, Showtime has closed a deal for a 20-episode order to Purity, a limited drama series toplined by James Bond star Daniel Craig and produced by Todd Field and Scott Rudin. The project, based on the book of the same name by The Corrections author Jonathan Franzen, hit the cable and streaming marketplace in February, with Showtime emerging as an early frontrunner based on an aggressive offer. Field will direct all 20 hours of the limited series, which he will co-write with Franzen and David Hare (The Hours, The Reader). Craig, Field, Rudin, Franzen, Hare and EIi Bush executive produce. Purity will begin production in 2017 and will air in two installments over the course of two years.
Purity, which had been originally envisioned as a feature, is a morally complex story of youthful idealism, extreme loyalty and cold-blooded murder, featuring characters both hungry for the truth and desperate to hide it. From STASI offspring to Oakland anarchists, Franzen tracks his characters’ landscapes from East Berlin and the Bolivian jungle to East Harlem walk-ups and the California Redwoods in a decades-spanning tragicomedy that builds to a contemporary climax. The book, published last September, centers on Pip, a young American woman who does not know who she is, and Andreas Wolf, a charismatic German provocateur, who will be played by Craig. He heads a South America-based organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world where Pip gets an internship in search of her identity.
“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 Networks president and CEO 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.’”
This marks the third high-profile upcoming limited series for Showtime, joining David Lynch’s Twin Peaks followup and John Ridley’s Guerrilla co-starring Idris Elba.
The teaming of Craig and Rudin stems from their previous work together on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Mike Nichols’ Broadway production of Betrayal. Rudin previously worked with Field on a script that was set up at HBO under the producer’s deal there. (He now has a first-look deal with Fox Network Group.) Rudin and Hare are long-time collaborators in film and theater. Last year, the Rudin-produced staging of David Hare’s Skylight won a Tony award for best revival of a play.
This is Rudin’s first series for Showtime. Scott Rudin Prods. has been ramping up its TV efforts, headed by Garrett Basch, who will also oversee and produce Purity.
Craig recently reprised his role as 007 in the latest James Bond film Spectre but has yet to commit to anther Bond movie amid hints on his part that he is likely done playing the famous spy and amid speculation about his possible successor in the role. Craig is finalizing a deal to co-star in Steven Soderbergh’s heist film Logan Lucky, which starts production in the fall.
Craig is repped by CAA and Independent Talent; Franzen is repped by Susan Golomb at Writers House and ICM Partners; Field is repped by CAA, LBI Entertainment and attorney Stuart Rosenthal; Rudin is repped by WME; Hare is repped by Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.