Studios and networks are always looking for the next big thing, and according to Deadline, they might have found it. Steve Zaillian, who brought the critically acclaimed miniseries The Night Of to HBO, is writing a series based off of Patricia Highsmith’s crime novel series focusing on Tom Ripley.
Ripley is described as a “sociopath anti-hero”. There are 5 novels from Highsmith: The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ripley Under Ground, Ripley’s Game, The Boy Who Followed Ripley and Ripley Underwater. Zaillian will use those stories as a road map for the series. He is expected to write and direct most of the episodes in the first season.
No one has scooped this up yet, but it is being described as a “hot package” that several networks want to get their hands on by Deadline.
Something like this would definitely thrive better on a premium cable channel like HBO or Showtime, or a streaming service like Amazon or Netflix, as opposed to a network channel like CBS or ABC.
This isn’t the first time Highsmith’s novels have been adapted. The title of the first book, The Talented Mr. Ripley, might sound familiar, as it was made into a film starring Matt Damon in 1999. Alain Delon, Dennis Hopper, Barry Pepper and John Malkovich have all also played Ripley in various things over the year.
This feels very similar to the Jack Ryan series on Amazon. A character from a book that has been adapted into several different movies, and is now a thriving series on a streaming service. It already has some familiarity to bring people in, but feels like a different take than previously seen before.
I have not read the novels, so I am not sure how much different the previous adaptations have been from the source material. A long form television show like this presents the opportunity to tell a more detailed story, so if you are a fan and weren’t pleased with past adaptations, this one might fix that.
When the Tom Ripley series gets a home, we’ll be sure to update you.