April 10, 2024
Press Releases

Andrew Scott Talks Empathizing With His Complex Character in Netflix's Ripley in April 13 Issue of emmy Magazine

Ripley, the Netflix thriller adapted from Patricia Highsmith's Ripley novels, stars Andrew Scott in the title role of the elusive con man. The Dublin-born actor talks with emmy about taking on the haunting role of Tom Ripley for the eight-episode limited series written, directed and executive-produced by Oscar-winner Steven Zaillian. The award-winning official publication of the Television Academy is on sale Apr. 13. 

Highsmith wrote five Ripley novels. The first — and best known — The Talented Mr. Ripley, has been adapted for movies and television several times. Most memorable to U.S. audiences is the 1999 film starring Matt Damon as Ripley. In "Killer Talent," Scott tells emmy that, when considering this Ripley project, Zaillian's writing captivated him. "The scripts were just so brilliantly economic and gripping," he says. "I thought it was a great opportunity to spend that amount of time with such a fascinating character." 

The noir thriller begins in early-1950s New York and moves through scenic Italian locales. "Andrew's transformation from a disreputable petty crook on the Lower East Side streets of New York to a sophisticated expatriate thriving in Italy is extraordinary," says Zaillian (Schindler's List, The Night Of). "Everything about him gradually changes — the way he looks and carries himself, how he behaves and speaks, how he thinks. It is a finely measured performance."

Transforming into Tom Ripley — whose crimes escalated from forgery and fraud to murder — was challenging, even for Scott, who played all eight parts in the Chekhov-inspired Vanya on London’s West End. The actor is in nearly every frame of the series. “It’s unusual, I think, [in television] to spend so much time with one character over eight hours. I had to have an awful lot of stamina,” Scott says. At the same time, the character calls for a demented yet friendly calmness, which Scott was able to achieve with minimal dialogue. 

Zaillian and the creative team behind Ripley were meticulous about creating a black-and-white world with hard lines, shadows and vacant passageways that complemented Scott's silent tension. Production for the series ran from the summer of 2021 through the spring of 2022 and was under strict pandemic rules. Scott spent a lot of time in barren towns with only his costars, Johnny Flynn, who plays Dickie Greenleaf, the object of Ripley's wicked attention, and Dakota Fanning, who plays Dickie's girlfriend, Marge Sherwood. 

Scott, who also served as producer, appreciates the source material, which Ripley follows almost to the letter. "What I think Highsmith does brilliantly is make us root for somebody, even though they're doing something that we probably wouldn't do ourselves," Scott says. "He is constantly surviving. I can empathize with him, what that feels like, where he's just not being looked at. It's easy to say that someone is a monster because that moves us away from having to look at ourselves. Human beings do monstrous things to protect themselves. That's why that story has stuck around for so long."

Additional featured highlights from the new issue include:

  • In "Double the Fun,," UK talk-show host Graham Norton reflects on the career path that led to creating The Graham Norton Show, a uniquely irreverent program that hosts the biggest stars in entertainment, from Meryl Streep to Elton John.
  • Warner Bros. Television Studios (WBTV) launched nearly 70 years ago, and by the mid-1970s, comedic series Alice and Welcome Back, Kotter helped put the studio on the map. In "Laugh Factory," emmy explores the legacy of comedy at WB, which includes past and present hits such as Night Court, Murphy Brown, Friends, Ted Lasso, Abbott Elementary and Shrinking.
  • In "Puppet Masters," the creative team behind Jim Henson's Creature Shop talks with emmy about bringing to life an array of characters, including the puppets for Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock, with the help of robotics, foam and 3D printing. The reboot of the popular original series returned to Apple TV+ on March 29 for its second season.

About emmy
Emmy, the official publication of the Television Academy, goes behind the scenes of the industry for a unique insider's view. With wide-ranging, inclusive subjects representative of the Television Academy membership and the medium as a whole, emmy showcases the scope of television and profiles the people who make it happen, from the stars of top shows and artisans behind the cameras, to programming trends and technological advances. Honored with dozens of awards for editorial excellence, emmy is published 12 times per year and is available on selected newsstands and at TelevisionAcademy.com for single print and digital copies as well as subscriptions.

Download the press release here.

For issue/coverage contacts:
Stephanie Goodell

breakwhitelight for the Television Academy

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