After being adapted for multiple projects over the years, Patricia Highsmith’s series of books focusing on con artist Tom Ripley are being developed for the small screen. Hide your wives, hide your inheritances.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the publishing of the first novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, which was adapted as both René Clément’s Purple Moon in 1960 and as Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley in 1999. Before shopping it around to networks and streaming services, the creative team is hoping to pair this project with a stellar writer and big-named star for the lead, according to THR, although a qualified director would do in a pinch. This is the kind of series that could work anywhere from Netflix to AMC to NBC, so long as the right people are involved.
The brains behind the remake are Television 360’s Guymon Casady, an executive producer on Game of Thrones and the Expendables franchise, and Good People’s producer Benjamin Forkner. Both men are huge fans of the novels, and their friendship with Philipp Keel (who works with Highsmith’s publishing company Diogenes) is what sealed the deal for getting the project’s development set in motion.
The orphaned Tom Ripley’s life of deviance got started in the first novel when he is tasked with retrieving a wealthy shipbuilder’s also wealthy son to return home from Italy to work with the family. I won’t spoil the story for anyone who hasn’t read it or seen its cinematic tale, but suffice to say he gets a taste for affluent living and does whatever it takes to keep it. His life then takes him to various other criminal endeavors, including dealing with art forgers and the Mafia. Maybe I’m just pairing this up too closely to White Collar, but this sounds like a role that Matt Bomer was born to play.
Beyond Talented Mr. Ripley’s pair of film adaptations, the novel was also turned into an episode of the anthology series Studio One. The second novel, Ripley Under Ground, became a 2005 film from Roger Spottiswoode, while the third novel Ripley’s Game was adapted in 1977 as The American Friend and in 2002 under its original name. Oddly enough, Tom Ripley was never portrayed by the same actor twice, and we’ve seen him played by Alain Delon, Matt Damon, Barry Pepper, Dennis Hopper and John Malkovich. The character has quite a bit of pedigree.
Highsmith’s first novel was Strangers on a Train, which was turned into the fabulous Alfred Hitchcock thriller, and her second novel The Price of Salt was recently turned into the film Carol from director Todd Haynes. Carol was recently a huge hit at Cannes, so let’s hope Ripley’s story can find the same amount of acclaim on TV in the future.