In a nutshell:
The Talented Mr Ripley—the gripping Patricia Highsmith novel which formed the basis for the sun-soaked thriller starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law—is being turned into a TV series titled Ripley, with Andrew Scott, Dakota Fanning and Johnny Flynn.
Who will star in Ripley?
Andrew Scott, the hot priest from Fleabag who charmed audiences more recently in The Pursuit of Love and is currently generating Oscar buzz for his heartbreaking turn in All of Us Strangers, is taking on the part of Tom Ripley for the show’s eight-episode run. In the 1999 film, the titular conman journeys to Italy to strike up a friendship with Dickie Greenleaf, the son of a shipping magnate, who has settled there with his girlfriend Marge Sherwood. Stepping into Jude Law’s butter-soft Gucci loafers as Greenleaf? None other than Emma’s Johnny Flynn, while Dakota Fanning is set to don crisp white shirts, printed midi skirts and a series of excellent coats as Sherwood.
“There’ve been various iterations of the character, some of which I’ve seen and some of which I’ve avoided,” Scott told Interview Magazine in October 2021. “When you’re playing those famous literary characters, you don’t want to just copy. I’m interested in the idea of what queerness is, and otherness, because that’s what I think it’s about. The reason he’s such an interesting character is you can’t quite place him. If Tom Ripley was in a gay bar, I’m not sure that he would fit in there. Nor do I think he’s a straight character. I think he’s a queer character, in the sense that he’s very other. What’s his relationship with sex, or death, or with family or friends? It’s interesting that a character is the sum of the parts that you don’t have to play.”
Meanwhile, Italian actor Pasquale Esposito has also confirmed that he’s joined the project in a supporting part, and according to Deadline, musician and actor Eliot Sumner (No Time To Die) will appear in a recurring role as a friend of Greenleaf’s who becomes increasingly suspicious of Ripley. It’s not yet clear if this will be a version of Freddie Miles, the obnoxious aristocrat Philip Seymour Hoffman embodied in the original film. Then there’s screen legend John Malkovich, who’s been spotted on set in Venice filming scenes with Scott (funnily enough, Malkovich himself played the sociopath in 2002’s Ripley’s Game). The question keeping us up at night, however, is who on earth will play Meredith Logue, the scene-stealing textile heiress with a penchant for wasp-waisted outerwear and show-stopping ballgowns? Or, will that part, which was created specifically for Cate Blanchett in the film, not appear in Ripley at all? We may know soon enough.
What’s the plot of Ripley?
The drama’s official log line states that it will follow “Tom Ripley, a grifter scraping by in early 1960s New York [who] is hired by a wealthy man to travel to Italy to try to convince his vagabond son to return home. Tom’s acceptance of the job is the first step into a complex life of deceit, fraud and murder.” Fans of both Patricia Highsmith’s novel and Anthony Minghella’s big-screen adaptation will be familiar with what happens next: after inserting himself into the idyllic life Greenleaf and Sherwood have built together, Ripley becomes obsessed with the former and is hurt when Greenleaf seems to prefer the company of his socialite friend Freddie Miles. Ripley begins trying on Greenleaf’s clothes and adopting his mannerisms, which disconcerts him and eventually leads to an explosive confrontation in which—spoiler alert—Greenleaf is killed.
Ripley then assumes Greenleaf’s identity, draws on his generous allowance and courts the gregarious Meredith Logue, only to run into Sherwood and Miles again. As the net seems to close around him, Ripley proves that there’s nothing he wouldn’t do to keep up appearances.
Who’s behind the camera on Ripley?
All eight episodes of Ripley will be written and directed by Steven Zaillian, who co-created the tense police procedural The Night Of and won an Oscar for penning Schindler’s List. The other screenwriting credits to his name? American Gangster, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Irishman and Gangs of New York, suggesting that Ripley will be a hardboiled crime drama in the same vein rather than a frothier Italian romp.
What will the costumes in Ripley look like?
The Talented Mr Ripley remains one of the most stylish films of all time—a swoon-worthy parade of buttery knitwear, leopard-print coats and sumptuous opera capes—meaning that Ripley has a lot to live up to. Photos from the set feature Fanning looking more subdued, sartorially speaking, than Paltrow did, but it’s likely that they show Sherwood in later scenes following Greenleaf’s disappearance. The fashion from the earlier portion of the story, when the couple are galavanting around the Italian coast, should hopefully be as dazzling as that in the 1999 film.
When will Ripley be released?
Netflix has confirmed that Ripley will arrive on screens in 2024.
Will there be future seasons of Ripley?
Almost certainly. Zaillian has reportedly optioned all five of Highsmith’s novels about Ripley—The Talented Mr Ripley, Ripley Under Ground, Ripley’s Game, The Boy Who Followed Ripley and Ripley Under Water. They track the chancer as he travels from Greece to the French countryside, London, Salzburg, Berlin, and Tangier, marrying heiresses, forging paintings and becoming entangled with the mafia.
How should I entertain myself until Ripley premieres?
Start by watching the ravishing 1999 film and work your way through Highsmith’s “Ripliad” stat. Eager to see more scammers on screen, as they assume false identities and go to great lengths to protect their secrets? Binge Netflix’s Inventing Anna and The Tinder Swindler as well as the BBC’s Chloe.