Daniel Craig to Lead Jonathan Franzen Limited Series ‘Purity’

     February 13, 2016


At the time of release of Spectre, franchise star Daniel Craig made perfectly clear that he was fairly exhausted by James Bond mantle and ready to hand in his PP7. Now it appears the actor making a break from Bond in a big way, signing on to lead a project of a very different sort: a limited TV series. Per Variety, Showtime is in talks to land a high-profile adaptation of the Jonathan Franzen novel Purity starring Craig, written by In the Bedroom filmmaker Todd Field, and produced by Scott Rudin (Steve Jobs, No Country for Old Men).

Frazen’s novel is literary fiction to its core, telling the story of a young woman named Purity drowning in student debt, squatting in Oakland, and searching for her father who lands an internship in South America that puts her in contact with a charismatic leader. One assumes Craig is attached to play the leader, Andreas Wolf, but details are scarce at the moment.

purity-book-coverRudin apparently shopped the limited series package to a number of networks this week, including Showtime and Netflix, in search of a straight-to-series order with a 20-episode commitment. It’s unclear if Showtime agreed to 20 episodes, but talks with the pay cable channel are ongoing so if the deal comes together, we should hear sooner rather than later.

This isn’t the first Franzen adaptation to go to television. Noah Baumbach famously put together an HBO pilot based on The Corrections with an all-star cast, but the network passed on picking the show up to series. Perhaps that’s why Rudin made a series commitment part of this deal.

So what does this mean for Bond? It’s hard to tell. Craig is still technically under contract to return in the next James Bond movie should the producers wish to have him back, and the actor no doubt just needs some time away from the character after the grueling Spectre shoot. They don’t even have a director for the next movie yet, but should Purity get ordered to series, Craig’s availability is about to become much more limited over the next year or so.

Field is a solid writer, and I’ll be curious to see if they go the Steven Soderbergh route and hire one director to helm every episode of Purity or if the show will enlist multiple directors. Again it’s early in the deal-making process so this may be a ways off from becoming a reality, but it’s exciting news nonetheless.


Image via EON/MGM/Sony