The film The Talented Mr. Ripley is a gripping psychological thriller that was adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s novel. Released in 1999 it had an all-star young cast, with Matt Damon starring as the daring sociopath Tom Ripley, Jude Law as the rich playboy Dickie Greenleaf, and Gwyneth Paltrow as Dickie’s fiancee. Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Jack Davenport also appear as supporting players. The film follows Ripley as he travels to Italy ostensibly to convenience Greenleaf to return home to his father, but quickly develops an insidious obsession with his new friend that devolves into murder.
While the standalone film might be the best known version of the character, Highsmith wrote a series of five novels (called The Ripliad) about Ripley. In 2009, BBC Radio put on a radio performance of all of the books, and now there is a new television adaptation in development. More information has just been released about the production and it bodes well for the new thriller.
According to Variety, Neil Cross (Mama) has signed on to adapt the series of books for television. Guymon Casady, Ben Forkner, and Philipp Keel will all serve as executive producers. Cross is known for creating and writing the hit television show Luther, a dark crime drama about a brilliant but obsessive detective (played by Idris Elba) that received eight Prime Time Emmy nominations.
For fans of serialized dramas, this is very good news as Highsmith’s novels already lend themselves well to the new television landscape. Much like HBO’s Game of Thrones or the BBC’s Poldark, it seems likely that the show will be structured so that one season will cover each book, giving the plot more time to evolve and unfold, rather than trying to compress everything into a (approximately) two hour film. Though it will be hard to top the perfectly cast film, no casting rumors have emerged. Hopefully this new format will curb the inevitable comparisons to its film counterpart.
It’s hard to see this news as anything but fantastic for the future of the show. Cross’ talents seem to be a perfect fit with the dark source material, as love, obsession, betrayal, and identity are all themes we have seen him explore quite adeptly with Luther. While the plot of the first season might be known to viewers, the rest of the series isn’t nearly as familiar. Of course, antiheroes have been exploding on television since Tony Soprano first checked into therapy, and there is a chance Ripley could fall into the same tropes we’ve seen play out many times, but with the talent now involved it is definitely a show to watch.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for information about The Talented Mr. Ripley as it develops.