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Ripley on Netflix: teaser drops for Andrew Scott's take on the Patricia Highsmith conman. Here's what we know

Patricia Highsmith's 1955 novel The Talented Mr. Ripley has lingered in the public – and filmmakers' – imagination since it was first published. And with good reason.

Here is a crime novel as brilliant and sinister as they come: the story of a middle class wannabe who slips into the life of unsuspecting American playboy Dickie Greenleaf. He becomes obsessed and kills Dickie in a fit of anger and jealousy, and then assumes his identity.

The novel plays on a deep, tribal, human fear: the fear of a malignant outsider who, once let in against everyone's better judgement, destroys everything. Adding to intensity of Highsmith's award-winning novel is its glorious backdrop. Italy at the peak of summer; Rome, Venice and the Ligurian Riviera.

It was most famously turned into star-studded 1992 film starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon and Jude Law, but it was also adapted into French film Purple Moon (1960) from René Clément, Indian Tamil-language film Naan (2012), a radio series, a play and an audiobook.

Now it is being updated once again, into a highly anticipated black and white Netflix series, starring Andrew Scott. It has been written and directed by Steven Zaillian, the Oscar-winning writer of Schindler's List (1993) who also co-wrote and co-directed highly acclaimed series The Night Of (2016).

Here's what to know about Ripley...

Andrew Scott as Tom Ripley (Netflix © 2023)
Andrew Scott as Tom Ripley (Netflix © 2023)

When will it be released?

Ripley is landing on Netflix on Netflix on April 4.

Who is starring in the new adaptation?

Andrew Scott plays Tom Ripley, the series' protagonist. Despite having won a BAFTA and two Olivier awards, and starred in everything from Vanya (at the Duke of York's Theatre, 2023), 1917 (2019) and Sherlock (2010-2017) Scott is probably still best-remembered for playing the 'hot priest' in Fleabag.

The 47-year-old Irish actor continues to go from strength to strength. He was heralded for his one-man take on Uncle Vanya in September, which won him the Best Actor gong at The Evening Standard Theatre Awards, is starring in Andrew Haigh's All Of Us Strangers, which opens this week, and will next play the terrifying Ripley.

He stars in the eight-part series alongside Johnny Flynn (Lovesick) as aristocrat Dickie Greenleaf and Dakota Fanning as his girlfriend Marge Sherwood. Other actors onboard include I Blame Coco singer Eliot Sumner, Italian actor Margherita Buy and John Malkovich, who played Ripley in Ripley's Game (2002).

Who has made it?

The series has been created, written and directed by Steven Zaillian, who wrote Hannibal (2001), Gangs of New York (2002), American Gangster (2007), Moneyball (2011) and David Fincher's version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011). The 70-year-old Zaillian has had an absolutely stellar career as a writer, but has also found success as a filmmaker, writing and directing Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993), A Civil Action (1998), All the King's Men (2006) and co-directing and co-writing The Night Of, the highly-acclaimed HBO miniseries starring Riz Ahmed, which won five Emmys in 2017.

Andrew Scott as Tom Ripley (Lorenzo Sisti / Netflix © 2021)
Andrew Scott as Tom Ripley (Lorenzo Sisti / Netflix © 2021)

What else do we know?

The new series is set in the Sixties, a decade after the original. Scott's Ripley is very clearly not the same age as Flynn's Dickie (Flynn is 40) which means the plot may have to be slightly altered. In the original book, Tom weasels his way into Dickie's life by pretending to be an old classmate.

The series' logline on Netflix's Tudum says: "Hired by a wealthy industrialist to travel to Italy to try to convince the man's dilettante son, Dickie Greenleaf, to return home. Accepting the job is Tom’s first step into a complex life of deceit, fraud, and murder."

The whole series will be presented in black and white. Speaking to Vanity Fair, Zaillian explained, "The edition of the Ripley book I had on my desk had an evocative black-and-white photograph on the cover. As I was writing, I held that image in my mind. Black and white fits this story – and it's gorgeous."

Is there a trailer?

Yes, find it at the top of the page.

What have the fans said?

Fans have been split by Zaillian's novel approach to adapting the book: "Andrew Scott playing Tom Ripley is some top tier casting," said one fan under the trailer. "Oh god, one of the best actors I know and magnificent cinematography! You got me Netflix," said another. "#Saltburn for grown ups?" commented another on X.

But others were less sure, saying, "Why is it in black and white?", "Isn’t he a bit too old?" and "The original feels lush and sexy almost to the point of tawdry...this feels deeply unsexy."

Ripley will premiere on Netflix on April 4