A famous American moves to Italy to live his best life in the gory Netflix series ‘Ripley’ (Part-2)    

You have to teach the audience how to watch it,” he explains. “There are times when the pacing is fast and times when you think it will take time, and you have to stay with the agony, thrill, and tension when things go wrong. Life is like that.” Zaillian, an Oscar winner for “Schindler’s List,” refused to update Highsmith’s book series and kept it extremely early 1960s, even filming it in black and white.  

“It instantly transports us to that time. More importantly, I didn't want a color postcard Italy with sunny blue skies and colorful clothing for this story. “That wasn't what I saw in the book or wanted to do in the show,” he says. Other TV shows focus on dialogue, whereas “Ripley” explores silence. Suspicious looks, hesitant exchanges, and bravery with police inspectors and hotel staff are key.  

“I was so excited by getting to communicate so much with micro-movements in the face and a look — that thing where you can read someone's thoughts through their eyes,” says Dakota Fanning, who plays Dickie Greenleaf's suspicious girlfriend.

Zaillian faithfully adapts Highsmith's novels but adds his own spin, such as making Ripley a lover of Caravaggio, a killer who painted deep and terrifying realism. “As I wrote it, I discovered a connection between him and Caravaggio. Both were rascals who killed someone. From a personal moment, it became a motif and subsequently a character trait, he explains.

The series is realistic, like Caravaggio, with rusted showerheads and grimy, screeching subways in New York and crumbling walls and pigeon poop-streaked monuments in Italy. Cleaning blood seems to take hours.  

Scott plays Ripley, who has been played by Matt Damon, John Malkovich, Ian Hart, and Dennis Hopper, as a subdued killer who makes mistakes, improvises, and must fix himself. Zaillian considered Scott early in the casting process because of his work in “Fleabag” and as Moriarty in “Sherlock.” Was smitten.  

I just found him really sort of watchable,” Zaillian recalls. I understood that since we spent so much time alone—there are many sequences with just us and him—he had to be watchable. His thoughts must be seen and spoken. I learned Andrew could accomplish that.”  

Johnny Flynn, who portrays Greenleaf, says filming in Italy took him to some of the most beautiful spots on Earth, but they turned darker when summer vacationers left and the sun set, perfect for a noirish mood. He and the cast were also reminded that many clifftop Italian towns have many steps.  

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