According to Variety, Apple TV+ is currently in the process of developing a series adaptation of author Edith Wharton’s classic novel The Custom of the Country with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) attached to write and direct the series. The project marks the latest collaboration between Coppola and the streaming service, who are also working together on the upcoming comedy-drama film On the Rocks starring Rashida Jones and Bill Murray.
“Undine Spragg is my favorite literary anti-heroine and I’m excited to bring her to the screen for the first time,” Coppola said in a statement.
First published in 2013, The Custom of the Country follows the story of a young Midwestern woman named Undine Spragg, who has ambitious dreams of climbing through ranks of New York City’s high society. The novel is also often cited as the inspiration for Julian Fellowes’ critically-acclaimed period drama series Downton Abbey.
The official synopsis for the novel reads: “From New York to Europe, the apartments of the nouveau riche to ancient French estates, Edith Wharton tells the story of Undine Spragg, a girl from a Midwestern town with unquenchable social aspirations. Though Undine is narcissistic, pampered, and incredibly selfish, she is a beguiling heroine whose marital initiation into New York high society from its trade-wealthy fringes is only the beginning of her relentless ambitions.
Wharton weaves an elaborate plot that renders a detailed depiction of upper class social behavior in the early twentieth century. By utilizing a character with inexorable greed in a novel of manners, she demonstrates some of the customs of a modern age and posits a surprising explanation for divorce and the social role of women, which still resonates for the modern reader today.”
Apple and Coppola won’t be the first ones to attempt to develop the novel for the small screen as Sony Pictures Television previously tried to adapt The Custom of the Country in 2014 with Oscar nominee and MCU alum Scarlett Johansson attached to star and executive produce.
Sofia Coppola is best known for her work in 2003’s comedy-drama Lost in Translation which had earned her her first Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, making her a third-generation Oscar winner following her father Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather) and grandfather Carmine Coppola. Her other notable works include: The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette, The Bling Ring, and The Beguiled.
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