Showtime has given a formal eight-episode order to Steven Zaillian’s drama series Ripley, based on Patricia Highsmith’s bestselling quintet of Tom Ripley novels, with Andrew Scott, hot off his starring turn on the Emmy-winning second season of Fleabag, set to star in the title role. Oscar and Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Zaillian (Schindler’s List, The Night Of) will write and direct the entire first season.
In the series, Tom Ripley (Scott), a grifter scraping by in early 1960s New York, 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.
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Zaillian will use the five novels written by Highsmith — The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ripley Under Ground, Ripley’s Game, The Boy Who Followed Ripley and Ripley Underwater — as a road map to show Ripley’s progression from con artist to serial killer. In Anthony Minghella’s 1999 feature adaptation, The Talented Mr. Ripley, the title role was played by Matt Damon.
Showtime landed Ripley in April with a straight-to-series commitment.
“We are so thrilled to have the supremely talented filmmaker, Steve Zaillian, adapt the singular saga of Tom Ripley from Patricia Highsmith’s novels as an ongoing series for Showtime,” said Gary Levine, President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks. “With Andrew Scott, whose charisma knows no bounds, inhabiting the iconic lead role, we feel confident that this will be a special one.”
On Sunday, Fleabag creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge credited Scott with the success of the show’s second season, which earned six Emmy Awards, including best comedy series. “Season 2 wouldn’t have happened and wouldn’t have exploded as it did if it wasn’t for Andrew Scott who came into our Fleabag world like a whirlwind and gave a performance with such depth and complexity that elevated the whole thing,” she said in her acceptance speech for Outstanding Comedy Series.
Known for his portrayal of the Priest in Fleabag, Scott won the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Moriarty in Sherlock and the British Film Independent Award for his work in CBS Films’ Pride. His other recent TV credits include His Dark Materials and Black Mirror. Scott is also an Olivier Award-winning theatre actor whose most recent work includes Present Laughter at The Old Vic, Hamlet and Birdland. Scott is repped by CAA and Lindy King at United Agents in the UK.
Zaillian won Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA screenplay awards for Schindler’s List and was also nominated for all three honors for his work on Moneyball. He has received two other Oscar nominations, for Gangs of New York and Awakenings, as well as BAFTA noms for Gangs of New York and American Gangster. In addition, he received Emmy nominations in both writing and directing and won the DGA award for The Night Of, which he executive produced and which also received an Outstanding Limited Series nomination.
Ripley is co-produced by Showtime and Endemol Shine North America in association with Entertainment 360 and Filmrights. Executive producers are Steven Zaillian, Garrett Basch, Guymon Casady, Ben Forkner, Sharon Levy and Philipp Keel of Diogenes. Scott will serve as a producer.
Endemol Shine North America’s scripted series portfolio also includes the upcoming Utopia on Amazon and Almost Family on Fox.