By Nellie Andreeva
LOS ANGELES (Deadline) — 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.
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.
“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, September 22, “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.