The actor famous for playing the Hot Priest will play a grifter next. Fleabag actor Andrew Scott will play Tom Ripley in Showtime’s upcoming series Ripley. As per the Hollywood Reporter on Sept. 25, the show will be an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley book series. More notably, Highsmith’s character was made famous in the 1999 film adaptation The Talented Mr. Ripley, which starred Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Cate Blanchett.
While a premiere date has yet to be announced for the TV series version, Ripley’s first season will consist of eight episodes and will be written and directed by filmmaker Steve Zaillian. The series will follow titular character Tom Ripley in 1960s New York as he travels to Italy after “he’s hired by a wealthy man to retrieve his vagabond son and return him to America,” as per the Hollywood Reporter. The synopsis added that deceit, fraud, and murder will inevitably ensue.
Scott’s role comes on the heels of his breakout performance on Season 2 of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s hit show Fleabag as the character simply known as the Priest, who has been dubbed as the Hot Priest by fans of the show. The Amazon dramedy won big at the 2019 Emmys on Sept. 22, where it took home the win for best comedy series, best writing, and best actress for Waller-Bridge.
On stage, Waller-Bridge gushed about Scott’s performance while accepting the best comedy series win. She said to the audience, “Season 2 would not have exploded in the way that it did had it not been for Andrew Scott, who came into our Fleabag world like whirlwind and gave a performance of such depth and complexity that just elevated the whole thing."
Scott’s turn in Ripley certainly marks a contrast to the priest. Gary Levine, Showtime’s president of entertainment, however, has full confidence in the actor. “With Andrew Scott, whose charisma knows no bounds, inhabiting the iconic lead role, we feel confident that this will be a special one,” Levine said in a statement, as per the Hollywood Reporter.
Scott’s turn as a grifter who must contend with deceit and murder is not a far cry from his other notable roles. After all, Scott depicted Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis and criminal Jim Moriarty in BBC’s Sherlock opposite Benedict Cumberbatch during its four season run between 2010 and 2017. For now, it’s unclear if the series will return for a fifth season given the schedules of its stars, according to Martin Freeman, who depicts John Watson, himself.
At a BAFTA event in December 2016, Sherlock creator Steven Moffat revealed that Scott’s evil Moriarty audition was so compelling that the show expanded the character — one that initially had a small role — and re-wrote an episode just for him. “We didn’t really have a scene for Moriarty in the original version of [Season 1’s introduction of Moriarty] ‘The Great Game,’” Moffat said, as per Radio Times.
He continued, “A bunch of actors came in, did fine… But Andrew absolutely went for it. And we thought, not only are we going to cast him, but by some means we’re going to include that scene in the episode. And we rewrote the end of the episode so that Moriarty, for no particular reason, turns up in the swimming pool, is going to kill them, changes his mind and goes away again.”
More so, Scott’s first post-Fleabag role was in Season 5 of Netflix’s anthology horror series Black Mirror, in which he played a cab driver who experiences a breakdown of the mind in Episode 2, titled "Smithereens." With these roles in mind, Scott’s certainly no stranger to the realm of darker roles; his Fleabag transition to Ripley seems just right.