With a fifth outing as James Bond looking unlikely, the actor has signed on for a new 20-episode series based on a dense novel by Jonathan Franzen
Showtime will screen the new hotly anticipated limited series Purity, which stars Daniel Craig. An adaptation of the acclaimed Jonathan Franzen novel, it received multiple high-profile bids from Netflix, FX and more.
The cable network will screen 20 episodes of the show. According to Variety, the deal is a lucrative one for Craig.
The actor has yet to confirm whether he’ll return to play James Bond. Purity will mark his first major television series since the BBC epic Our Friends in the North in 1996 – and his first stateside show.
Todd Field (In the Bedroom, Little Children) will write and direct all 20 episodes. Oscar winner Scott Rudin (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Social Network, Moneyball) is the producer.
Franzen’s novel received great acclaim upon its publication last year, with the Guardian’s reviewer hailing its “delicious observations about contemporary life [and] the breathtaking scope of its ambition”. Its plot includes the titular character’s search for her father and her connection with the boss of a WikiLeaks-esque site.
Showtime president and CEO David Nevins praised Franzen’s book as “an epic American novel that pulses with the energy of a psychological thriller … Purity promises to be the kind of taut, long-form, serialized storytelling that is the best of premium television, and is precisely what we at Showtime aspire to deliver.”
As for returning to the Bond franchise, Craig said during the press rounds for Spectre that he’d had enough, and would “rather slash my wrists” than play the role for a fifth time. “If I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money,” he told Time Out.
Production on Purity begins in 2017. No premiere date has been set for the series, which will air over the course of two-year period.
Franzen’s 2001 novel The Corrections came near to being adapted for the small screen as well, with film-maker Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) tapped to direct a cast that included Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ewan McGregor. HBO, however, reportedly passed on the project in 2012, after part of the pilot had been shot.