Why Andrew Scott Needed ‘An Awful Lot of Stamina’ to Star in 'Ripley'


Andrew Scott totally transformed to bring grifter Tom Ripley from the page to the screen in Netflix’s Ripley — and needed “an awful lot of stamina” to do it, he reveals in his new emmy magazine cover story.

In Us Weekly’s exclusive first look at Scott’s emmy profile, he reveals how challenging it was to play author Patricia Highsmith’s fictional con man, first made famous in her 1955 novel, The Talented Mr. Ripley. “What’s unusual about this particular bit of television is how much time you spend with one character,” Scott, 47, shared. “A lot of the time in television, we can spend time with a hospital crew or a family or a police department, but it’s unusual, I think, to spend so much time with one character over eight hours.”

Scott stars as the titular character in the eight-episode series, which premiered Thursday, April 4, on Netflix. The Irish actor acts as “a grifter scraping by in early 1960s New York” alongside Dakota Fanning (as Marge Sherwood) and Johnny Flynn (as Dickie Greenleaf). Netflix’s official description of the series reveals that Ripley is “hired by a wealthy man to travel to Italy to try to convince his vagabond son to return home,” adding that “Tom’s acceptance of the job is the first step into a complex life of deceit, fraud and murder.”

For Scott, the “most challenging thing” about playing Ripley was “how secretive he is,” the actor shared in Us’ exclusive behind-the-scenes video from his emmy shoot.

andrew scott emmy mag
Art Streiber

“He’s not a reliable hero. So, you don’t necessarily know if he’s telling the truth at any particular time. He does terrible things,” Scott continued. “I have to find the, the soul within him. I think there’s something about him that’s very vulnerable. I love that about him because it brings out his real human side. He’s not a natural born killer.”

Scott, who was previously nominated for an Emmy in 2020 for his work on Black Mirror, called Ripley’s character arc an “epic journey” throughout the show. “His fallibility actually is one of the things that I think makes him lovable in some ways.”

andrew scott emmy mag
Art Streiber

Highsmith published her first crime novel, The Talented Mr. Ripley, in 1955. In the years that followed, she wrote four subsequent books about the character. Before Scott’s miniseries, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law starred in the 1999 film adaptation, The Talented Mr. Ripley.

When it came to referring to Ripley as a “sociopath” or serial killer — as he’s often been called — Scott did not want to label the man.

“It was important not to diagnose the character with lazy assumptions,” he told emmy during the interview, noting that there was “a lot of speculating about Tom” in terms of his sexuality and mental state. “Sometimes the speculation itself is the [more] insidious thing.”

Scott’s emmy cover debuts on Saturday, April 13.



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