21st century television is a good place to be a bad guy. With role models like Tony Soprano, Walter White, and whatever the name of the guy from Low Winter Sun was, the professional anti-hero is currently riding high. Now, Game Of Thrones executive producer Guymon Casady is teaming up with publisher Philipp Keel to bring one of literature’s original semi-heroic sociopaths to the small screen in all his chameleonic glory: Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the proposed series will begin by expanding on Highsmith’s first book, The Talented Mr. Ripley, in which the cold-blooded Ripley first insinuates himself into the world of wealthy gadabout Dickie Greenleaf, then murders him and steals his life. That slower pace makes it sound like the adaptation will be closer in style to NBC’s Hannibal, with a single book stretching over one or even multiple seasons, presumably with extra focus given to the relationship between Ripley and victim Greenleaf. (It seems less likely that the series will also adopt Hannibal’s police procedural elements, with each murder-of-the-week centered around a new pocket square or dapper pair of cufflinks, but one can hope.)
There’s no word yet on who’ll be cast as Ripley, who’s been played by five different actors over the years, and never by the same man twice—thus his just-made-up reputation as “the greased-up pig of acting.” But, given that two of the most high-profile interpretations of the character were done by Matt Damon and John Malkovich—in 1999’s The Talented Mr. Ripley and 2002’s Ripley’s Game, respectively—it might be fun to finish out the top-billed cast of Rounders and give Gretchen Mol a shot.