Andrew Scott Distances Netflix's Ripley from Moriarty, Refutes Villain Label

Netflix unveils a riveting tale of intrigue and identity.

by Nouman Rasool
Andrew Scott Distances Netflix's Ripley from Moriarty, Refutes Villain Label
© Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

In an insightful conversation on BBC's Today program, acclaimed actor Andrew Scott delves into his latest role in Netflix’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's renowned novel, "Ripley." Renowned for his BAFTA-winning portrayal of the iconic villain Jim Moriarty in "Sherlock," Scott is setting a new narrative direction with his character in "Ripley," aiming to shift audience perspectives from viewing Ripley as merely a villain to understanding him as a multifaceted anti-hero.

Distinguishing his approach to Ripley from Moriarty, Scott emphasizes the complexity and depth of Ripley's character, stating, “It does feel different [to playing Moriarty]. I retreat against calling Ripley a villain.

He’s an anti-hero, and it’s my responsibility to let the audience in on what it’s like to be Ripley, not just to observe him. We’re meant to empathize with him; he is the protagonist of his story." This nuanced portrayal aims to engage viewers on a deeper level, encouraging them to root for Ripley despite his morally ambiguous actions, a testament to Highsmith’s compelling character creation.

Ripley's Italian Deception

"Ripley," set against the backdrop of Italy's picturesque landscapes, follows the journey of the title character, previously immortalized by Matt Damon in the 1999 film, as he entangles himself in a web of deceit, fraud, and murder after being tasked with persuading a wealthy man’s son, Dickie Greenleaf (played by Johnny Flynn), to return from Italy.

Dakota Fanning stars as Marge Sherwood, adding to the dynamic cast. Scott, whose diverse portfolio includes memorable roles in "Fleabag" and "Pride," highlights the television adaptation's exploration of class dynamics, painting a vivid picture of Ripley's motivations rooted in survival amidst societal neglect.

“This is a man with enormous talent living in stress where his neighbors are rats,” Scott articulates, pointing to the stark contrasts between Ripley’s humble beginnings and the affluent, yet uninspired circle he infiltrates.

This theme of societal dismissal resonates deeply, suggesting a broader commentary on the consequences of overlooking community segments. Set to captivate audiences with its intricate storyline and rich character development, Netflix’s "Ripley" promises to be a thought-provoking addition to the streaming platform's repertoire, offering viewers a chance to witness Andrew Scott in a role that challenges the conventional boundaries of villainy and heroism.