Daniel Craig to topline Jonathan Franzen’s series “Purity”

– Daniel Craig is turning to the small screen. The actor behind James Bond is set to star in and executive produce a straight-to-series limited drama based on The Corrections author Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel, Purity, which has landed at Showtime, The Hollywood Reporter said.

The series, picked up with a 20-episode order after fielding multiple bidders, centers on a young woman named Purity (who is known by the name of Pip) who, in search of answers about herself and her family, winds up interning in South America at the Sunlight Project, a group which deals with all the secrets of the world. It’s described as a story about youthful idealism, fidelity and murder. Craig is eyed to play Andreas, a German provocateur who crosses paths with Pip.

Todd Field will write, direct and executive produce Purity. Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Franzen and David Hare also will exec produce. Hare and Franzen also will serve as writers on the drama, while Field will direct all 20 episodes. The series will air over two years on Showtime. Production will begin in 2017.

Here’s Showtime’s official description: Purity is a morally complex story of youthful idealism, extreme loyalty and cold-blooded murder. Franzen’s intricately plotted novel is populated by characters both hungry for the truth and desperate to hide it. From Stasi offspring to Oakland anarchists, Franzen tracks his 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.

Purity, published in September, marks Franzen’s second book-to-TV adaptation. The author’s 2001 novel The Corrections was developed as a series with Rudin producing the drama that boasted an all-star cast including Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Dianne Weist. HBO passed on the drama in 2012.

For Craig, meanwhile, the actor has said multiple times that he would like to conclude his time portraying screen legend James Bond after a four-film run. (Spectre producer Michael G. Wilson, however, has gone on record saying that he expects Craig to be back for a fifth turn as 007.) The actor has yet to officially sign on for a fifth film as Bond. He is repped by CAA and Independent Talent.

Purity marks Craig and Rudin’s latest collaboration. The duo previously collaborated on 2011’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Mike Nichols’ Betrayal on Broadway. Franzen is repped by ICM Partners and Susan Golomb at Writers House.

Purity arrives as Rudin’s Scott Rudin Productions banner has been expanding its small-screen offerings. The production company signed a first-look deal with Fox Networks Group last year and has projects in the mix at Fox, FX and National Geographic Channel. Repped by WME, his recent credits include Ex Machina, Steve Jobs, Top Five, Grand Budapest Hotel, Moneyball and Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Field, repped by CAA, LBI Entertainment and Bloom Hergott, counts In the Bedroom, Little Children and Nonnie & Alex as well as acting roles in Eyes Wide Shut and Ruby in Paradise among his credits.

Playwright-filmmaker Hare, with Casarotto Ramsay & Associates, has written more than 30 stage productions including Skylight, Plenty and The Bloom. His film and TV work includes The Hours, The Reader and Dreams of Leaving.

For Showtime, Purity joins a drama roster that also includes The Affair, Homeland, Masters of Sex, Penny Dreadful, Ray Donovan, Billions and the upcoming Roadies and I’m Dying Up Here.