One of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars is headed to the small screen.
Scarlett Johansson has signed on with Sony TV to executive produce and star in a new series called Custom of the Country. The show is based on Edith Wharton’s 1913 Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name. British screenwriter Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons, Atonement) is adapting the book for television.
Custom of the Country is planned as an eight-episode series. The show could possibly appear on a premium cable channel. Hampton reportedly adapted the novel for the big screen twenty years ago as a vehicle for Michelle Pfeiffer. However, the film never came to fruition, instead Hampton published the script as part of a collection of screenplays in 2002.
Johansson will play heroine Undine Spragg. It will be her first major television role. Here’s the synopsis for the novel:
First published in 1913, Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country is a scathing novel of ambition featuring one of the most ruthless heroines in literature. Undine Spragg is as unscrupulous as she is magnetically beautiful. Her rise to the top of New York’s high society from the nouveau riche provides a provocative commentary on the upwardly mobile and the aspirations that eventually cause their ruin. One of Wharton’s most acclaimed works, The Custom of the Country is a stunning indictment of materialism and misplaced values that is as powerful today for its astute observations about greed and power as when it was written nearly a century ago.
Johansson, 29, welcomed a baby girl named Rose into the world in early September. It is the first child for the actress and fiancé Romain Dauriac. Prior to giving birth, Johansson said in an interview that she plans to embrace the aging process. She also claimed to be tired and frustrated with her sex symbol status, “I don’t want to be the ingénue any more. That part I’m happy about. It’s nice to be glamorous, but I don’t want to always have to be trendy and glamorous and an object of desire. I don’t want to be stuck in that forever. Because it doesn’t last.”
Perhaps taking a role as a ruthless social climber will help change her image?