The trend of movie stars doing television continues with Scarlett Johansson. We have Viola Davis doing How To Get Away With Murder, Clive Owen in The Knick, Colin Farrell has signed on to do True Detective, etc. Given Johansson’s varied movie career – she’s done small indies like Don Jon and Under The Skin as well as big action blockbusters like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Lucy – her migration to television (for a little while, anyway) makes sense.
Johansson has signed on to star and produce in The Custom of the Country, a limited cable series consisting of eight episodes. The series is based on Edith Wharton’s 1913 novel of the same name. Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons, Atonement) will write.
In The Custom of the Country, Johansson will play Undine Spragg who is “as unscrupulous as she is magnetically beautiful. Her rise to the top of New York’s high society from her nouveau riche roots provides a provocative and thoroughly modern commentary on the upwardly mobile and the aspirations that eventually cause their ruin.”
Wharton is the author of The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, and The Buccaneers. Many of her novels have been adapted for movie and television (see: Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence with Michelle Pfeiffer and Daniel Day-Lewis) but this will be the first on-screen adaptation of The Custom of the Country. Julian Fellowes has cited The Custom of the Country as an inspiration for his Emmy nominated series Downton Abbey.