Apple & Sofia Coppola Developing Adaptation Of Edith Wharton’s Novel ‘The Custom Of The Country’ For TV

Dick Page & James Gibb

Sofia Coppola has teamed up again with Apple to develop an adaptation of Edith Wharton’s classic novel The Custom of the Country.

It is the latest Apple TV+ project for The Virgin Suicides director, who has also directed feature film On The Rocks, starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones, for the streamer.

The project is being adapted with an eye toward a limited series order to be written and directed by Coppola.

The story, which is often described as an inspiration for Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey, follows Undine Spragg, a Midwestern girl who attempts to ascend in New York City society. First published in 1913, it was Wharton’s ninth novel and released just after she had finalized her divorce and moved permanently to France.

Having encouraged her parents to relocate to New York, Undine Spragg subsequently marries Ralph Marvell, a member of an old New York family with status but little money, before spending the rest of the book looking to trade up her husbands, cheating, neglecting her young son and even blackmail.

It is not the first time that The Custom of the Country has been developed for television; in 2014, Sony Pictures Television developed a project that would have starred Scarlett Johansson, who was set to exec produce as well.

On The Rocks, which comes from Apple’s partnership with A24, follows a young mother who reconnects with her larger than life playboy father on an adventure through New York.

Coppola, who has previously talked about her enjoyment of the book, said, “Undine Spragg is my favorite literary anti-heroine and I’m excited to bring her to the screen for the first time.”

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