Bringing an end to months of back-and-forth, Showtime has ordered a 20-episode miniseries of Purity, an adaptation of the acclaimed Jonathan Franzen novel that will feature Daniel Craig in a star role.
Marking the actor’s first foray onto the small-screen in almost two decades – not since the BBC’s Our Friends in the North has the Brit featured in a major TV series – news of Craig landing the lucrative deal to headline Purity only emphasizes the actor’s desire to lay down the license to kill, as he’s all but set to depart the James Bond franchise after four consecutive turns as MGM’s lethal spy.
In terms of Purity, Variety reports that Showtime fended off heated competition from both Netflix and FX to secure the limited series, appointing Todd Field (In the Bedroom, Little Children) to write and direct all 20 episodes in the process. Meanwhile, Scott Rudin of The Grand Budapest Hotel is on board to produce the adaptation.
A psychological thriller at its dark and brooding core, Purity was once in line to become a feature film, and the synopsis for Franzen’s novel reveals a global adventure orbiting around one Pip Tyler.
Young Pip Tyler doesn’t know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she’s saddled with $130,000 in student debt, that she’s squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her relationship with her mother–her only family–is hazardous. But she doesn’t have a clue who her father is, why her mother chose to live as a recluse with an invented name, or how she’ll ever have a normal life.
Enter the Germans. A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads Pip to an internship in South America with The Sunlight Project, an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world–including, Pip hopes, the secret of her origins. TSP is the brainchild of Andreas Wolf, a charismatic provocateur who rose to fame in the chaos following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now on the lam in Bolivia, Andreas is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn’t understand, and the intensity of her response to him upends her conventional ideas of right and wrong.
Purity now joins David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Guerrilla on Showtime’s roster of limited series. No word yet on a premiere date for the Daniel Craig-fronted thriller, but we’ll let you know when we hear more.