Julia Stiles Boards Oscar Winner Neil Jordan's French Crime Series 'Riviera'

Credit: Sky Atlantic
Julia Stiles

British pay TV giant Sky will air the 10-part series, one of six newly announced shows that also include a project with Christina Hendricks and Tim Roth.

Julia Stiles has set her luxurious sights on the south of France by joining Riviera, the upcoming sun-tinged crime series from Oscar winner Neil Jordan (The Borgias, The Crying Game).

The 10-part drama, details of which British pay TV giant Sky unveiled Wednesday for its Sky Atlantic network, was created by Jordan and co-writer (and Booker Prize-winning author) John Banville. The project is being developed and produced by Archery Pictures — set up in 2014 by former Scott Free head Liza Marshall and U.K. producer Kris Thykier — alongside Primo Productions.

Based on an idea by former U2 manager Paul McGuinness, Riviera centers on a young, recently married woman (Stiles) whose blissful life of Mediterranean luxury is torn apart when her billionaire husband is murdered in a yacht explosion. She soon discovers that the fortune used to maintain his immaculate, gilt-edged lifestyle was tainted with dishonesty, double-dealing, crime and ultimately murder, and finds herself dragged into a world of crime as enemies close in.

“What attracted me to Riviera is the setting, a romantic and glamorous world where not everything is as it seems, and the opportunity to explore a character who is also not as she appears," Stiles said in a statement. "Georgina is the classic anti-hero, ultimately a good person, but compromised by the corruption around her."

Added Anne Mensah, Sky's head of drama: "Neil Jordan has created the most audacious show in the most exquisite and luxurious of settings. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect actress for the role of Georgina than Julia Stiles. Quite simply, you won’t have seen anything like it on television before."

Commissioned for Sky by Mensah, commissioning editor Cameron Roach and Sky Atlantic director Zai Bennett, Riviera is being executive produced for Archery Picture by Jordan, Marshall (Red Riding Trilogy, Taboo), Thykier (Kickass, Woman in Gold) and McGuinness.

Sky's international division Sky Vision is handling worldwide sales.

Riviera joins an aggressive rollout of new programming by Sky, the pan-European giant part-owned by 21st Century Fox, which has bolstered its upcoming slate with six major new productions as it positions itself as the U.K.'s biggest investor in original British content, which topped $850 million in 2014.

Also confirmed Wednesday was the Idris Elba-starring civil rights drama Guerrilla from Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave writer John Ridley, which also is heading to Showtime in the U.S.

Christina Hendricks and Tim Roth also have been confirmed for Roland Joffe's contemporary Western Tin Star, from British banner Kudos (Humans, Broadchurch). The 10-part series is set in the Rocky Mountains and follows a former British policeman who becomes embroiled in a tale of drugs, prostitution and organized crime stemming from a new oil refinery.

Other shows unveiled by Sky include Delicious, starring comedian Dawn French; 17th century settler drama Jamestown, from Downton Abbey creator Carnival Films; and The Last Dragonslayer, based on Jasper Fforde's novel.