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Ripley: What To Expect From The New Netflix Series Starring Andrew Scott

Almost 70 years after “The Talented Mr Ripley” by novelist and short-story writer Patricia Highsmith was published, a new serialisation is coming to the small screen. The “psychological thriller series” from Netflix premieres on 4 April, with all eight episodes available.

What’s the Ripley story?Between 1955 and 1991 Patricia Highsmith wrote five psychological thrillers featuring a cunning identity thief, beginning with “The Talented Mr. Ripley”. In each one, con man Tom Ripley comes dangerously close to being caught or killed.

The 2024 Netflix series is based on the first book, in which the eponymous Ripley is a “grifter scraping by” in early 1960s New York. A wealthy man pays him to go to Italy to persuade his son Dickie Greenleaf to come home. Taking the job is the “first step into a complex life of deceit, fraud and murder”, according to the official Netflix synopsis. Marge Sherwood is Dickie’s girlfriend, who becomes suspicious of Tom’s motives.

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Who’s in the cast of Ripley?Andrew Scott (“All of us Strangers”, “Fleabag”) plays the main character, in this “fresh screen incarnation of the devilishly smart (and, well, devilishly devilish) con man”, said Empire.

The role of Dickie, the “directionless American gallivanting around Europe”, is taken by Johnny Flynn (“One Life”), said Empire, while Dakota Fanning (“I am Sam”) is “set to don crisp white shirts, printed midiskirts, and a series of excellent coats” as Marge, said Vogue.

The book that the series is based on was “famously adapted into a film” in 1999, said IndieWire, when Matt Damon took the role of Tom “setting off to bring Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) home”, said Variety, while Gwyneth Paltrow played girlfriend Marge. Directed by Anthony Minghella, the film was nominated for five Academy Awards.

Who’s behind this Ripley adaptation?Screenwriter-turned-director Steven Zaillian, who has authored “a host of great movie scripts”, including the Oscar-winning “Schindler’s List”, “Gangs of New York”, and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, wrote and directed all eight episodes, with Scott as a producer, said Empire.

Zaillian has created some “gorgeous monochromatic photography”, and the series is shot “entirely in crisp black-and-white”, said Empire, rather than the “bronzed colourful cinematography” of the 1999 Minghella adaptation, said the Daily Mail.

“Originally set up at Showtime”, the series was “acquired by Netflix in a sale between the companies”, said Variety.

“Ripley” is currently planned as a “limited series”, although more may follow if Netflix, Zaillian and Scott “feel moved to adapt more of Highsmith’s ‘Ripley’ tomes”, said Empire.

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