Arriving Feb. 4, the limited series is based on Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley novels, famously seen on screen in 1999's 'The Talented Mr. Ripley'
The Fleabag breakout — who is currently earning Oscar buzz for his role in All of Us Strangers — leads the latest adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s bestselling Tim Ripley novels, most famously seen on screen in 1999's The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law.
Like that movie, Ripley follows the conman after he is hired by a wealthy benefactor to convince his vagabond son Dickie Greenleaf to return home from Italy. But Tom quickly becomes enchanted by the glamor of Dickie's lifestyle and does everything to ensure his place alongside him.
Netflix dropped a trailer for the suspenseful drama on Monday. "Tom's acceptance of the job is the first step into a complex life of deceit, fraud and murder," a logline for the reads.
Joining Scott in Ripley will be Emma's Johnny Flynn as Dickie, the part Law played in the film. Alongside him is Dakota Fanning as Dickie's picture-perfect girlfriend Marge Sherwood (Paltrow's previous role). She's the one who first suspects Tom might not be who he says he is.
All episode of Ripley will hit Netflix on Feb. 4. The eight-episode series is written, directed, and executive produced by Academy Award winner Steve Zaillian (The Irishman, The Night Of), who told Vanity Fair in December that telling the story of Tom's treachery over multiple episodes allowed him to be "more faithful to the story, tone, and subtleties of Highsmith’s work."
"[I] tried to approach my adaptation in a way I imagined she might herself," Zaillian told the outlet, adding that he even shot the series in "gorgeous" black and white to correspond with "the edition of the Ripley book" he had on his desk.
Highsmith — who did died in 1995 at the age of 74 — published five Ripley novels over the course of 36 years: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955), Ripley Under Ground (1970), Ripley's Game (1974), The Boy Who Followed Ripley (1980) and Ripley Under Water (1991).
Before 1999's The Talented Mr. Ripley, that novel was adapted into the 1960 film Purple Moon, with Alain Delon as Tom. Ripley's Game was filmed in 1977 as The American Friend starring Dennis Hopper, and later under its original title in a 2002 movie with John Malkovich. Ripley Under Ground hit the screen in 2005, in a film starring Barry Pepper.
In 2009, BBC Radio 4 brought all five Ripley novels to life with Ian Hart as Tom. Other television adaptations have come over the years as well — though Netflix's Ripley is the most thorough.
Playing the role wasn't easy for Scott, who is also executive producing the show. "It was a heavy part to play," he told Vanity Fair. "I found it mentally and physically really hard. That’s just the truth of it."
"I feel like you’re required to love and advocate for your characters, and your job is to go, 'Why? What’s that?' You don’t play the opinions, the previous attitudes that people might have about Tom Ripley," Scott, 47, also said. "You have to throw all those out, try not to listen to them, and go, 'Okay, well, I have to have the courage to create our own version and my own understanding of the character.' "
That doesn't mean he ever got there, the actor noting that he struggled to understand some of Tom's actions. "Certain things I can understand, but other things — it’s actually the blankness that’s sometimes hard to engage with," he said.
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