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Showtime to Bring Franzen Novel ‘Purity’ to Series

Showtime will adapt the novel Purity, from best-selling author Jonathan Franzen, with Daniel Craig both starring in and executive producing the project. Purity will be a 20-episode limited series across two seasons, with production starting in 2017.

Todd Field (Little Children, In the Bedroom) will write, direct and executive produce, while other executive producers are Franzen, Scott Rudin, Eli Bush and David Hare.

Showtime describes Purity as “a morally complex story of youthful idealism, extreme loyalty and cold-blooded murder,” adding, “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.”

“Jonathan Franzen's Purity is an epic American novel that pulses with the energy of a psychological thriller. I whipped through it in a week,” said David Nevins, president and CEO, Showtime Networks. “His gripping and timely story has attracted a powerhouse team–Todd Field, Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, David Hare, along with Franzen himself, and the brilliant Daniel Craig who is perfectly cast as the charismatic, mysterious ‘Andreas Wolf.’ Put it all together and 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.”

Speaking with reporters June 1, Nevins said, “I think this will be one of the most talked about projects over the next couple years.”

Craig is best known for playing James Bond in the film franchise.

Showtime Networks is part of CBS Corporation.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.